Columnist Thinks Doctors Should Determine Who is Allowed to Carry Guns

July 2 2014
by GSL Staff
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According to a column (I’m not going to call it a news article) at The Atlantic, author Iulia Filip wonders if doctors might be the best people to determine who is eligible to carry a firearm. From the post,

“Doctors are qualified to do this, but they need guidance,” Goldstein said in a telephone interview. “The physician that best knows the patient is the best type of physician to do these assessments. In most cases, that would be the primary care physician. Doctors who have special training, who may not be the primary care physicians, may also be qualified to do it. The type of questions being asked involve physical and mental capacities. The problem is there are no criteria for assessing them.”

When law enforcement agencies ask doctors to attest to an applicant’s mental or physical fitness to carry a concealed gun, they may send a minimal form to the doctor, and sometimes a request for more detailed medical records. The problem is, Goldstein says, the current forms are not comprehensive enough for this type of assessment. The Department of Transportation has more detailed regulations about who can conduct “transportation physicals” for commercial motor vehicle licenses.

“When you do a transportation physical, there are forms that ask about cardiac, respiratory, emotional, neurological, and psychiatric conditions,” Goldstein explained. “If, for instance, one has neuropathy, dementia, or a cardiac condition, you would want to know how severe it is. We could develop such forms [for concealed weapons permits] relatively quickly and educate providers about what the expectations are.”

This is a terrible idea for several reasons. First off, it’s an obvious violation of the right to self defense. Besides that it could easily violate medical privacy laws. Also, do people really think a doctor’s personal politics wouldn’t play a role in this? Pro-gun doctors would sign off on most every application and anti-gun doctors would sign off on virtually none.

Also, why would cardiac conditions be considered at all? Wouldn’t people in poor health be in even more need of a way to protect themselves from younger, healthier assailants?

As a group, people who possess carry permits and carry firearms daily are far more law abiding than the general population. Carriers have even been found to commit crimes at a much lower rate than law enforcement officers (Study 1, Study 2).

This is nothing more than a suggestion to harass law abiding gun owners while doing virtually nothing to address the real causes of most violence in the United States – gangs and the illegal drug trade, which account for an overwhelming portion of violent crime in this country.

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