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· Greg
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http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Fea...112712-Michelle-Andrews-on-gun-ownership.aspx

By Michelle Andrews

Nov 26, 2012
Should doctors be able to ask patients or patients' parents whether they own a gun? What about health insurers, employers or health-care officials implementing the federal health law? Can they ask about gun ownership?

The issue is playing out in Florida, where a federal judge in July issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of a law that would have prohibited doctors from asking patients about gun ownership in many instances, saying the prohibition impinged on doctors’ First Amendment right to speak with their patients about gun safety.
The law would have allowed physicians to ask about guns if it seemed relevant to a patient's medical care or safety – for example, if a patient was severely depressed or experiencing violence in the home. Florida is appealing the judge's ruling.
Six other states - Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia - have considered similar legislation in recent years, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, although none of them has approved such a law.
The 2010 federal health law doesn't prevent doctors from asking about guns, but it does prohibit insurers, employers and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services from asking about gun ownership in many instances, and it prohibits HHS from collecting such data.
Employer-sponsored wellness programs, for example, are prohibited from asking people about gun use or storage. Such questions might be posed as part of a questionnaire that asks about risky health behavior such as smoking and inadequate exercise. Likewise, health insurers can't use gun ownership, use or storage as criteria for setting premiums or denying coverage.
Even without the new restrictions, such questions are rarely asked or acted on, say experts. "We don’t have any data or industry information on [this subject], but it isn’t something that we’ve heard about or seen companies do," says Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.
Physicians say that asking whether there are guns in the home and how they're stored should be part of routine discussions doctors have about hazards in the home, just as they ask about poisonous cleaning materials or fencing around outdoor pools.
More From This Series Insuring Your Health


In most instances, those conversations take place between pediatricians and parents of young children.
In 2009, one in five deaths caused by injuries to people younger than 20 were related to firearms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' revised policy statement on gun-related injuries released in October.
"It's inconceivable to me that I wouldn’t be able to have a conversation about something that might harm the child," says Robert Sege, director of the division of family and child advocacy at Boston Medical Center. Sometimes parents have declined to answer when he asks if they have guns at home, he says, and in those cases he doesn't push for answers but does provide gun-safety pointers.
But gun-rights advocates say information about gun ownership is no one’s business but their own. They say it’s up to the individual to abide by laws related to gun ownership and safe storage.
"We take our children to the doctor because they're sick or need health care," says Marion Hammer, a former National Rifle Association president who is the executive director of United Sportsmen of Florida, the NRA's legislative affiliate for the state. "We don’t take them there for political dialogue or for pediatricians to ask us not to exercise a constitutional right."
Gun control advocates view the health law provisions and state laws like the one in Florida as part of a "concerted effort by the gun lobby to limit access to information about the dangers of gun ownership and about the use of guns in crimes," says Benjamin Van Houten, managing attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gun rights advocates see it differently. Hammer describes taking her granddaughter to the pediatrician near her home in Tallahassee a few years ago for a check-up. The doctor, who was new to the practice, asked her 14-year-old granddaughter whether there were guns at her home. Hammer declined to answer the question.
"It was the first and only time that’s happened," says Hammer. "We don’t see her anymore."
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· Pierced & tattooed freak!
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My position on people owning a gun is similar to fat people owning spandex: Yes, you're entitled to own it, but I don't want to see you with it. Everyone who can legally own a gun has the right to own one. No one should have the right to ask you about your gun ownership: It's none of their business.
 

· Old Squid on a Blade
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So you own spandex and are feeling a little insecure about it? TMI... :)
 

· ǝɹoɯʎuɐ ʞɔn&#60
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Honestly its none of their business make it a law and ill still answer the question with the same answer. its not your business nor does it pertain to receiving the proper medical care.
 

· Old Squid on a Blade
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For the record, I do think a MD or a shrink should be able to ask. I agree with the injunction. The original law was poorly conceived. An MD's responsibilities also include the mental health of a patient. Knowing if a mentally "sick" patient has guns can have a direct effect on selection of drugs, warnings about drug interactions or other treatment. You certainly have the right to decline to answer and the doctor certainly has the right to withhold or modify treatment.
 

· Pierced & tattooed freak!
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· Pierced & tattooed freak!
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Honestly its none of their business make it a law and ill still answer the question with the same answer. its not your business nor does it pertain to receiving the proper medical care.
100% agree, and you're being nice about it. I personally like the more blunt "none of your fucking business" response myself. Stupid irrelevent questions deserve a response of an equal level.
 

· Registered
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I don't keep guns in the house but I've had some neighbors ask my wife about them before bringing kids over. I think I'd like to know if I was sending kids over to someone's house if they have guns on site.

I'd like to think my kids won't play with them but I certainly don't trust some of the boys that come over. I've had kids find the damnedest things they are like bloodhounds for dangerous stuff, which reminds me I have to start locking up my pocket knives.

Nothing was as fun as finding my dad's pocket knives when I was a kid.
 

· The Halo hides my Horns
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For the record, I do think a MD or a shrink should be able to ask. I agree with the injunction. The original law was poorly conceived. An MD's responsibilities also include the mental health of a patient. Knowing if a mentally "sick" patient has guns can have a direct effect on selection of drugs, warnings about drug interactions or other treatment. You certainly have the right to decline to answer and the doctor certainly has the right to withhold or modify treatment.
Here is the thing though, and I've read articles about it happening already.


Say my fiance goes to the doctor because she's got the winter blues and wants xanax or whatever the latest magical drug is. The doctor asks, do you own any weapons or firearms ect. and she lets slip that we do.

Next thing I know, there are several officers at my door with a warrant of some sort saying they need to confiscate *all* the firearms in the house and if I don't comply I go to jail. For the safety of my fiance, and the neighborhood children...because there is a school just two blocks away, and a concerned doctor had filled out some form. bla bla bla.

I don't recall where I read about this, but this is why it's becoming such a big deal, it's already happened.

So then an individual now needs to spend thousands in court costs and doctors visits to prove little Fiance isn't going to run through a school in a fit of depression and start shooting children (think of the children!), and so I can even have guns in the house again, let alone getting all my gear back from impound...which, considering how long it takes to go through the courts, all my gear is now either owned by local officers or turned into rebar.
 

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Hippa.
 

· Greg
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is the thing though, and I've read articles about it happening already.


Say my fiance goes to the doctor because she's got the winter blues and wants xanax or whatever the latest magical drug is. The doctor asks, do you own any weapons or firearms ect. and she lets slip that we do.

Next thing I know, there are several officers at my door with a warrant of some sort saying they need to confiscate *all* the firearms in the house and if I don't comply I go to jail. For the safety of my fiance, and the neighborhood children...because there is a school just two blocks away, and a concerned doctor had filled out some form. bla bla bla.

I don't recall where I read about this, but this is why it's becoming such a big deal, it's already happened.

So then an individual now needs to spend thousands in court costs and doctors visits to prove little Fiance isn't going to run through a school in a fit of depression and start shooting children (think of the children!), and so I can even have guns in the house again, let alone getting all my gear back from impound...which, considering how long it takes to go through the courts, all my gear is now either owned by local officers or turned into rebar.
Sounds like some good ole NRA propaganda. Not that it could not happen, but...
 

· Registered Abuser
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I don't keep guns in the house but I've had some neighbors ask my wife about them before bringing kids over. I think I'd like to know if I was sending kids over to someone's house if they have guns on site.
Without Gov't assistance or a law giving you the right to do so?

I'm shocked.
 

· Registered
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No just neighbors talking. I'm certainly not in favor of having a government clearing house for this purpose.
 

· Registered Abuser
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No just neighbors talking. I'm certainly not in favor of having a government clearing house for this purpose.
I totally agree and wish more adults would think this way.
Free thought and communication, what a concept. LOL.

If a doctor feels it's relavant to ask this question, then fine, ask it. The person being questioned can answer or decline. I don't think we need a law to say that this is or isn't OK.
Ugh, less Gov't please.
 

· Registered
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Ugh, less Gov't please.
Can't agree more. I have a masters in Urban Planning which is about as socialist as you can get. However, my experience is that although government is necessary, every time government gets involved things get messed up or overly complicated.

So I suppose I'm sorta like the Ron Swanson of Parks and Rec. I love that guy. He says the best lines like when he's trying to ween Tom off all his gadgets and says to him "I'm going away to my cabin. It's a place the power company doesn't even know exists."
 

· Old Squid on a Blade
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Here is the thing though, and I've read articles about it happening already.


Say my fiance goes to the doctor because she's got the winter blues and wants xanax or whatever the latest magical drug is. The doctor asks, do you own any weapons or firearms ect. and she lets slip that we do.

Next thing I know, there are several officers at my door with a warrant of some sort saying they need to confiscate *all* the firearms in the house and if I don't comply I go to jail. For the safety of my fiance, and the neighborhood children...because there is a school just two blocks away, and a concerned doctor had filled out some form. bla bla bla.

I don't recall where I read about this, but this is why it's becoming such a big deal, it's already happened.

So then an individual now needs to spend thousands in court costs and doctors visits to prove little Fiance isn't going to run through a school in a fit of depression and start shooting children (think of the children!), and so I can even have guns in the house again, let alone getting all my gear back from impound...which, considering how long it takes to go through the courts, all my gear is now either owned by local officers or turned into rebar.
Show me specifically where this has happened. I don't believe it for simple depression. I also don't believe that they can take your lawfully owned weapons based on someone else in the household. This is somewhat NRA paranoid sounding. As mentioned, the doctor still has strict HIPPA privacy constraints on who he shares information with. 90+% of the time, this information will just benefit the patient. We don't need additional laws to prevent a doctor from doing his job that benfits 90+% of his patients and where there is no evidence of abuse.
 

· Registered
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Show me specifically where this has happened. I don't believe it for simple depression. I also don't believe that they can take your lawfully owned weapons based on someone else in the household. This is somewhat NRA paranoid sounding. As mentioned, the doctor still has strict HIPPA privacy constraints on who he shares information with. 90+% of the time, this information will just benefit the patient. We don't need additional laws to prevent a doctor from doing his job that benfits 90+% of his patients and where there is no evidence of abuse.
Mental health providers can and do release information to public safety officials if they truly believe their patient is a threat to himself or others (regardless of hippa laws)
 

· Sarcasm in every post.
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For those who feel an doctor should be allowed to ask, I have a question.

Let's say a couple are in the middle of a nasty divorce. He owns arms and is severely depressed and emotional about his current situation. Doc asks during a visit, patient responds truthfully. What does the doc do then?

Notify police to confiscate (breaking HIPPA)(Edit: per Bandits reply not actually breaking Hippa)?

Prescribe large doses of drugs, that may or may not be taken by patient?

Slap a white coat on him and put him in a padded cell, for everyone's protection?

Where would the line be?

My main question:
What amount of responsibility is taken, after the info is acquired?
 

· ,
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Said perfectly: less government.

Here is how it should be.

Doctos, police, anyone should be able to ask you if you own a gun. It's a free country, and as such, anyone can ask you anything.

And just the same, YOU can respond however you like, becuase it's a free country. All you have to do, is kindly say when asked: none of your business.

We have too many laws as it is. As some point, it will just be easier to say EVERYTHING is illegal, except what laws are in place that say it IS legal to do something.

Our country is becoming less and less free each day. Obamacare anyone?
 
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