It sounds like a good idea for doctors to call the cops on mentally unstable patients who own firearms who appear to be a danger to society. But it isn’t. First, British docs already have the power to commit a patient against their will. If they think someone in their charge is going off the rails, they can intercede. Second, if you instruct docs to keep an eye on mentally ill patients who own firearms in particular, physicians will apply a different standard of care—especially when deciding whether or not to contact the Old Bill. Which means, third, patients who own guns will avoid medical care. So, on one hand, you have the possibility that British doctors will “miss” potential spree killers. On the other, you have gun owners who could become spree killers because they don’t seek medical attention. After the Lake District massacre, the British Medical Association [BMA] decided to add government informer to their remit. Not that that’s what they’re saying . . .
Doctors are preparing to share information on gun owners with police so they can flag up patients who could be a danger to themselves or others . . .
Electronic tags could be placed in medical records to show which patients hold a firearms or shotgun licence . . .
“Such a system should not, however, imply that the GP practice has taken on particular obligations to monitor or oversee the mental health of individuals holding firearms licences,” explains the BMA.
These discussions are taking place just two weeks after the fatal shooting of 12 people in Cumbria by taxi driver Derrick Bird.
As yet, no evidence has emerged that Bird had any health problems before he started his rampage.
The BMA says doctors have always been prepared to breach confidentiality and inform on patients if they have concerns about their mental health.
Did you catch that? The BMA is now happy to surrender once-private medical records to the police, so that the police can judge whether or not a firearm owner should have his license pulled.
Note: this is what happens when you live in a police state that’s decided that civilian gun ownership is beyond the pale. That said, it’s also worth remembering that the Brits did this to themselves.