Why I Will Not Participate in the Physician Gun Snitching Network
January 21, 2013 in Health
The controllers of our world exert their influence through incrementalism. They do outrageous things, but it slowly progresses from what starts out as a reasonable idea. The federal mandate that doctors report their patients with guns is justifiably outrageous to those of us who support individual liberty and second amendment. However, it does stem from a reasonable idea: that there are some people that probably should not own a gun.
Let me provide another example of a similar situation in which doctors intervene in patients lives to protect “the common good.” The restriction of a persons ability to drive a vehicle is a common concern to doctors. For example, if you have a seizure disorder or if you have dementia, a doctor may envoke his ethical responsibility to protect society from someone that cannot be trusted to operate a vehicle, which no one would disagree is an extremely dangerous weapon. Usually what happens is the physician files a report to the RMV stating his concern, and they investigate whether or not they should revoke the patient’s license.
In our modern world, we do entrust certain people to make judgements about what is right and wrong. Doctors are one of those people. When it comes to guns, we cannot deny that they are very powerful weapons, and that those of us who suffer from debilitating mental health conditions should not use them. But this is a judgment and the line that differentiates who can and cannot own a gun in regards to mental health is grey and blurry. For example, I would think it would be reasonable to restrict gun ownership in a person with paranoid schizophrenia, who is constantly in a state of visual hallucinations in which zombies are constantly attacking him. And even with treatment, there are always setbacks and relapses. On the other end of the spectrum, depression is a common mental health disorder, and patients are still a functioning members of society, who in general, do not warrant having their right to bear arms removed.
This judgment that physicians make is often difficult. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this. The proposition that President Obama is making is the wrong way. We should not “submit” names of people to the federal government to put them on “no gun” lists. In fact the federal government has no place in this process at all. Instead, it should work in the same way that it does with the elderly and cars. If a physician has a concern about a patient owning a gun, he should be allowed to communicate with the local police officer who issued the license to carry, who conducts his own investigation. The patient should be allowed to reapply for his license to carry at a later date, there should be no “federal list” that allows him to also be profiled at the airport or to have any of his other constitutional rights infringed upon in any way.
The Newton, CT shooter Adam Lanza, a clearly mentally disturbed individual, tried 5 times to get a gun legally, and could not, thus having to resort to killing his mother and stealing her guns. In my opinion, there is no clear evidence that the system as it operates today in most locales does not work and that it needs change at all. While on a theoretical basis, it does make sense for doctors to “rat out” their gun-owning patients, in reality it is a very rare situation that someone so mentally disturbed is also a gun enthusiast. As a physician, it can be part of my job to advise safe gun practices in the context of the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship. However, to be absolutely clear, I will not take part in the unconstitutional gun grab, loss of liberty, and descent into tyranny that is unfolding before our eyes.
“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson