The Heritage Foundation did a great write up about the legality of barring doctors from snooping into the non-medical related business of their patients, but I wanted to put the legality of the issue aside for the moment.
My real question is, Why? Why would a doctor need to know whether you have a gun in the house? And also, why is Obamacare encouraging doctors to ask about gun ownership? Considering that patient information will be privy to the government in the new Obamacare database, I can understand why the Obama Administration (enemy to the 2nd Amendment) would want that information.
I’m still wondering though, what the rationale that doctors hide behind in order to ask the question in the first place. I don’t think a doctor of mine ever asked what kind of car I drove or whether I have a Ginzu knife set or a sawzall. Those are dangerous tools as well and could be used to hurt myself or others if misused. Yet they never asked about those things.
And let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that NOT answering the question is good enough. If you are a gun owner you can either lie to your doctor (and if you have a negligent discharge and shoot yourself in the foot, face the possibility that your insurance won’t cover the costs), you can forgo your right to privacy and say yes (an infringement in its own way) or you can tell your doctor to pound sand, which will be like admitting it anyways.
What if you have kids? We teach our children not to talk to strangers but we introduce our doctors as people who will help them and are to be trusted. We do put our children’s lives in these people’s hands after all. Are we really going to try and tell our children which questions to be honest about and which to evade?
I don’t like when government passes any law to restrict a right. But I cannot legally yell fire in a crowded theatre when there isn’t one, I cannot legally threaten to kill a person, I can’t legally lie under oath at a trial…these infringements on my First Amendment rights are in place to protect other people.
And before any of you gun grabbing antis start squawking about gun control…the equivalent of gun control to the above scenario’s is to pass a law cutting out everyone’s tongues. Of course the criminals just won’t have theirs cut out.
Anyways, back to the point. A doctor has no medical reason to inquire about firearms in the home and people should be protected from both doctors, who would abuse their position, and a government who has knocked down the wall of doctor/patient confidentiality.
Unless a doctor is going to prescribe a pill that stops bullets and will prescribe them only to gun owners, the question itself is beyond the scope of a doctors purview and just shouldn’t be asked.
As an ironic twist, as often as Obama likes to tout polls saying a majority of Law Enforcement back gun control and using that as a platform to push for it…he is oddly silent in the face of this poll:
A survey released last year (2012) by the non-partisan Doctor Patient Medical Association painted an even bleaker picture, revealing that 83 percent of physicians have thought about leaving their practices because of Obamacare.