(courtesy thetrace.org)

Methinks Adam Weinstein has found himself an editor. The formerly incoherent, rabidly anti-gun writer has written a post for his civilian disarmament paymasters at Bloomberg’s thetrace.org that almost makes sense. In fact, Bridging the Debate Over Florida’s ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ Law contains some helpful insights into the issue. What Weinstein doesn’t say: the Florida law is NOT a gag order. It only prohibits doctors from “unnecessary harassment” of patients regarding firearm ownership during examination. A fine line perhaps, but one which doesn’t close the door to a [real] gun safety discussion. Here’s how Weinstein would like that doctor -> gun owner convo to go . . .

A possible scenario might run like this:

Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?

Patient: Well, I’m sure there are a lot of careless people with guns out there bringing your statistics down, but that’s not us.

Clinician: It’s good to hear you take precautions. In what way?

Patient: I keep my weapons in a safe place away from prying eyes.

Clinician: I’m glad you’ve given this some thought. Our statistics show that you can never eliminate the danger from guns, but it’s mitigated by safe practices. What other precautions might be manageable for you right now?

See what he did there? It’s the same uninformed, condescending, misleading, context-less crap anti-gunners use to argue their case for civilian disarmament, generally. [More evidence of the antis’ inherent elitism: the photo above that accompanied the article.] Weinstein reckons doctors should sidestep Florida’s legal prohibition against “unnecessary harassment” of firearms owners in the exam room by changing their language.

Weinstein’s sly Socratic style of anti-gun indoctrination – not to mention the existence of The Trace itself – indicates that the gun control industrial complex is learning the value of stealth. Check this out:

[Marian “Emmy” Betz, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado, and Garen J. Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California Davis] point to a key untapped source that can help less gun-savvy physicians raise the issue tactfully with patients.

Research shows that doctors who do own guns, while less likely to see firearms possession as a public health matter, are far more likely to counsel their patients on safe gun ownership and storage. “Physicians who own guns should be asked to provide leadership in developing cultural competence in firearm safety counseling, rather than being marginalized or silenced within the physician culture,” Betz and Wintemute write.

Such doctors could help fix “knowledge gaps or biases” among uninitiated colleagues. “This includes recognizing that there are actually multiple subpopulations of gun owners whose perspectives and preferences may vary based on their reasons for owning firearms.”

This is precisely how the American marketplace of ideas is supposed to work: The intersection of diverse views is where greater understanding occurs. Half-informed caricatures — redneck gun-nuts, clueless nanny-state doctors — give way to more nuanced views.

Weinstein’s lying. There is no nuance here. Only pretend nuance. Anti-gunners don’t want to create an “intersection of diverse views . . . where greater understanding occurs.” Wintemute constantly agitates against firearms ownership, cherry-picking stats to “prove” that guns in the home are more of a danger than a defense. His idea of “safety counseling” is to convince patients to disarm. The quote above reflects his desire to create a clever cadre of Docs Against GLOCKs.

Thankfully – at least for writers outing paid propagandists – Weinstein wearies of his faux firearms friendship request. In the final anti-firearms furlong Winstein drops the mask of reasonableness. Once again, the boy can’t help it. He ends his article with the usual anti-ballistic bile, which somehow survived the editors’ red pen:

But this is where we are, when the only culturally acceptable way to be pro-gun-ownership is to believe that the right is both unlimited and superior to every other right. “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights,” Joe the Plumber, the cartoonish mascot of modern American conservatism, told the parents of mass shooting victims last year. When that sort of rhetoric drives the conversation, it’s impossible to have an honest discussion about making firearms possession safer, or introducing health professionals to more gun owners. The gun owners’ self-appointed representatives would rather shoot first and ask questions never.

This is where we are, Adam: Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Respect that right, figure out what real gun safety is and get back to us. Or not.

89 Responses to TheTrace: Here’s How Docs Should Ask Patients About Guns

    • So in other words: “Yes”

      Honestly the only safe answer for the gun owner is to say on a medical questionnaire’s “Do you own firearms…” question is “No”. “Yes”, “Decline to answer” and any snarky write-in comment are all the same.

      • Exactly. I have zero moral or ethical qualms lying to an intrusive doctor. Unless I’ve shot myself, there is nothing gun related in any medical care I’d be seeking. Therefore it is none of the doctor’s business so I will happily lie, quickly put the situation to bed, and try to find a new doc.

      • Actually, RIchard, whether it means “yes” or not can depend on how you answer other questions. If you respond “NOYFB” to a number of questions, such as about your sex life, for example, then the answer about guns doesn’t stand out.

        • I didn’t even read the whole post here and my answer is still , no . Your doctor does not need to know if you own a gun , how many , what kind , do you shoot guns , are there guns in the house , are your guns locked , or anything else they can report on a government or private insurance form . If you really want to see that doctor , lie on all questions and if you cannot lie and still must see this doctor leave these spaces blank and if and when the doctor questions you about the blank spaces , you can explain that you don’t believe it is his business and if you want to inform yourself you can explain why . If it isn’t that important to you to see this particular doctor , explain to the receptionist that you feel it is too intrusive and promptly leave .

        • Right — that’s what I said. And NOYFB doesn’t necessarily say “Yes”, as was argued.

          Though I use “N/A”, and not just if there were a gun question; my last medical form ended up with a half dozen of those because I didn’t see the medical relevance and wasn’t interested in sharing the information.

      • How long do you think it will take for another Dem congress to pass a law making it a felony to lie on those forms?

    • Me and everyone in my family know to lie through our teeth when any doctor/nurse/whatever asks us about guns. Lie right through our teeth. Lesser of two evils and all that. It’s a shame we can’t trust doctors and nurses enough to be honest with them, but so it goes.

      In other news, I’ve never once had a shooting instructor offer medical advice. Funny how that works.

    • Did the clinician disclose nearly 100,000 are killed and 220,000 are harmed due to Medical Malpractice annually in the US? Did your healthcare provider offer how many patients filed a malpractice suit against them? Has your healthcare insurance provider given numbers of how many malpractice suits are filed in their network in your area?

      Nevermind the fact you are 3 to 9 times as likely to die from your healthcare provider than you are from a class of weapon. Upon becoming doctors and nurses, don’t they have to swear to “do no harm”? HIppocratic Oath and Florence Nightingale Pledge and all.

      Healthcare Businesses, heal thy industry. May you and your loved ones suffer the very same care, policies and fees you visit on your patients/customers.

        • LOL

          When I was in for surgery last year, one of the first things a nurse went over were all the precautions they had taken to avoid quite a list of dangerous accidents, including flooding the operating room with intense UV for fifteen minutes before I got wheeled in to having a checklist for everything along the way, with one person responsible for making sure the team goes through the list and another for monitoring the first.

      • I thought current estimates put preventable medical error deaths at 210,000 to 440,000 per year in the U.S. as of 2013.

    • I’ve been asked this during the yearly checkups for my children. They say, “Do you have any guns in the home?” I say, “No, not right now.” (because it’s on my hip)

      • You are obviously woefully under armed. Please take corrective action and acquire more firepower. For the children.

    • I have as much interest in my doctor’s opinion on gun safety as I have in my plumber’s opinion on cholesterol drugs.

      • Your plumber probably knows more about crap in his veins and arteries as you doctor does about guns , after all his expertise is unclogging pipes .
        Good post .
        Like +1

  1. “Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?”

    My response: lol okay?…? So about my infected toe, am I going to loose the nail?

  2. My doctor is MPR’s (NPR) go to interview doctor in MN, but he is way to professional and respectful to bring politics and paternalism into his practice so I don’t have any idea of what his politics are.

  3. “Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?”

    My response: lol okay…? Now about my infected toe, am I going to loose the nail?

  4. It’s almost like two articles: in the first part, the author, taking an immanently reasonable tone, states that “the attitudes are hardening” on both sides of the issue, noting that some pediatrics association has called for the outright removal of guns from homes with kids . Then in the last part, we are told that the much sought-after “conversation” doesn’t happen because of the extremist gun-rights people and no one else. Ultimately, just another ham-handed attempt to fracture the gun-rights community and marginalize the leadership thereof.

  5. I think if a doctor ever asked me if I had guns in the house I’d probably respond by asking him if he had any cash, gold or other valuables stored at his house. If he wasn’t forthcoming about the valuables he keeps in his home the visit would be over and I’d find a new doctor. ‘Don’t send me a bill, you won’t receive a payment’ would be my parting words.

    • I understand people joking and making brash comments here about this issue and I’m not suggesting that you governor are not true to your word but this is coming to YOUR doctors office . The new Health Care Reform Act (Barry Care ) is requiring all insurance companies adopt uniform patient information forms that will have this as required information , along with standardized coding and care guidelines . Prepare yourself now and accept the fact that not supplying the requested information may limit your choices for medical care . I run a medical practice and so far I have refused these standardized forms supplied by some of the insurance companies I accept payment assignment with and have had no problems but I have strong feelings these strategies won’t work forever . I can foresee a time when we won’t even be allowed to pay for health with cash .

  6. In engineering, we can lose our license to practice if we practice outside of our area of expertise. Since most of these doctors wanting to “council” us on gun issues aren’t gun experts or even the least bit knowledgeable about them, I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t held to the same high standard.

    • When a doctor screws up, he only kills one person at a time. When engineers screw up, we generally hit a body count somewhere between 50 and a million.

      • Indeed. That’s why we take a course in which we spend the entire time calculating the injury/death toll of our various, theoretical screw-ups: You didn’t design that pressure relief valve properly. Based on this amount of over-pressurization, calculate how many people will lose eardrums, and how many people will die, in a 20-mile radius. Also, in Differential Equations: this is resonant frequency; this is resonant frequency on drugs (cue Tacoma Narrows bridge video).

    • That actually happened to me. And an entire host of ER doctors huddled over me and their first question was:
      Do you have any firearms in your house? Really, that happened.

  7. Can’t we just find a way to get rid of The Trace. Come on Hackers where’s your enthusiasm? If my PCP asked me about guns I’d bid them a goodday and never go back. Think-ACA and who pushed it through. I think this is all about money and insurance. If Bloomberg can lie and convince the insurance industry anyone who owns a firearm should endure higher rates because they are a higher risk he will. Medical info may get shared with insurance, even though HIPPA standards are supposed to protect our privacy. I believe they would wiggle around this.

    • Then think of the money an NRA indorsed issuance company can make while all the other companies lose business or have to raise their rates on their unarmed clients who can’t prevent home invasions.

    • It would help if links directed to an archived version of the web page so that we don’t keep adding to their click count when an outrageous POS article is referenced.

    • I think it’s funny life insurance doesn’t even take firearm ownership into consideration, instead actual medical conditions and history are important. Firearms don’t even appear in any form on the list of “dangerous activities and hobbies”. You’d think if firearms cause so much death and bodily harm their existence would at least be acknowledged. I’d like to see their research backing their claims, but I don’t really have the time to wait for them to setup all those mirrors and fog machines.

    • Last time a medical form asked how many drinks I had per week, I answered “Yes, generally”.

      The nurse came back and asked what it was supposed to mean. I said it meant that I had drinks each week — generally.

  8. how about this for an answer to the last question:
    Clinician: I’m glad you’ve given this some thought. Our statistics show that you can never eliminate the danger from guns, but it’s mitigated by safe practices. What other precautions might be manageable for you right now?

    ME: well I understand that preventable medical mistakes kill between 200,000-400,000 people a year (http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx) to mitigate this fact I take everything you say and check the facts myself. As a firearms instructor I don’t give medical advice. How about you focus on your area of expertise?

    Granted the last time I saw a doctor for myself was during my exit physical in 2003, but my kids see one fairly regularly for check-ups and I’ve never been asked about firearms in the house.

    Respectfully Submitted

  9. Cracks me up. The only asking about guns going on when I see my doc is me asking him what’s he got new since I was there last.

    And it’s always something cool. He likes the same stuff I do. He reloads too, has given me some good pointers.

    It’s a Godsend to have a GP who is a regular guy and also a doc.

    • My GP is a former Marine who went to med school when he got out. We’ve never discussed guns, as he works for Kaiser and he may be obligated to document stuff that would otherwise be of no great note.

  10. Doc: “Do you have any guns in the home?”

    Patient: “Guns! Doc those things are scary!”

    Doc: “Perhaps you should have someone take you shooting.”

    That sir, is how a conversation between a doctor and a patient should go.

  11. I think one small potential outcome is that gun owning doctors can take their colleagues to the range and teach them about the 4 rules of safe gun handling. The best treatment for hoplophobia is taking the sufferer to the gun range with a .22 revolver.

  12. I would say, “You asked the wrong question. You should have asked if I have any “clinicians” at home, since they kill 100x more Americans each year than guns do.

  13. We should all just take a moment to appreciate the selflessness of those members of the medical profession who are willing to share their expertise in the safe handling of firearms, government social policy, metallurgy, mechanical engineering and firearms design. These wonder doctors could save the dozens or even hundreds of people, if they are permitted to extort information from gun owners seeking medical treatment.

    I have no patience for those who point out that all firearms deaths (suicide, murder and accidents) number 32,000 per year and the number of people who die in hospitals due to preventable medical errors is 100,000 to 200,000. Last July the US senate heard testimony that put the number of deaths due to all medical errors at 400,000 per year. The number of people injured at 4,000,000 per year and the annual cost of “doctor says oops” at 1 Trillion dollars per year.

    After all, what possible expertise could an anti gun doctor have in the field of health care?

      • As a physician, I have found life to be 100% fatal. One might argue that Elijah and Enoch escaped this mortal coil without dying, but I don’t find that is a reasonable expectation in general.

  14. If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?
    ———————-
    The proper answer to that is.
    Moron’s don’t understand math. Since people will purchase firearms with the specific intent to commit suicide and or kill others, and people purchase firearms because there is a specific lethal threat against them, and firearms are not magically shields that can eliminate that threat entirely, there will always be a correlation between possession of a firearm and increased number of suicides and homicides in a household.
    Are you a moron?

  15. Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?

    Patient: Go f**k yourself.

    Problem solved, but how would they know you had a gun in the first place? Bloomberg probably has a plan for that too.

  16. Doc: Research shows you’ll die sooner if there are guns in the home.
    Me: In what peer-reviewed scientific journal was that research published?
    Doc: Well, um…

    Doc: Let’s talk about safe firearms storage.
    Me: Are you an NRA certified firearms instructor?
    Doc: No, but…
    Me: Then shut up and confine your lectures to actual medical advice, for which you have been trained.

  17. The last time I talked about guns in a doctor’s office, I ended up in the front office for half an hour talking to her husband about where to shoot, the best guns to start kids on and what kind of hunting I like to do. Find a good doctor and develop a relationship with them and you won’t have to worry about this sort of thing.

  18. I have never lived in a home that didn’t have guns in it. I also do not know anyone who has ever ben shot. What am I doing wrong?

  19. Nine out of ten patients agree — doctors should stop killing their patients. Unfortunately, doctors kill over 100,000 patients a year. And we, the patients, pay for it.

    • Good point; could ask the clinician how they feel about malpractice, what they’re doing about it, and what other precautions might be manageable for them.

      • Don’t ask your doctor or their staff about malpractice , Pete , because even in an age of multi- million dollar insurance policies , this is still a blackball term that can ultimately have you traveling hundreds of miles outside your area for services . You will simply be told that the doctor you want to see isn’t accepting any more new patients . Common practice for the red flagged .

  20. Just tell him it’s more secure than the insecticides and poisonous cleaners under 99% of his clients kitchen and bathroom sinks

  21. Doc: “do you have any guns in your home?”

    Patient: “no sir.”

    Doc: “I’m writing you a prescription for a Sig Sauer. I want you to shoot 50-100 115gr FMJ from this twice a week, and I want to see you in s month to check on your progress.”

  22. Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?

    Stick to the medical literature, doc. You’re out of your depth.

  23. You’re all missing the point. The “Affordable Healthcare Act” was forced on us for this one reason:
    To take control over our lives by making EVERYTHING a “health issue”. There will come a time, and it will be soon, that the DR can ask you anything he/she damn well pleases and you’d better be honest or they’ll have you committed. It really doesn’t matter, if you’re honest or not: you’re still going to be committed if you prefer liberty over subservience.

    • Yep, well said. Throw in the push for mandatory vaccines and it becomes easy to see the developing tyranny which uses medicine as part of its weaponry and uses public safety to attack any remaining concepts of individualism and freedom.

  24. There shouldn’t be a question at all. It should simply be “and if you happen to have any guns in your home, it is recommended that they be kept locked up and out of the reach of children” and then they move on to the next topic.

    • Why should it even include that? That is not in the scope of medicine, and using that philosophy, why shouldn’t the doctor also go through a laundry list of questions ranging from liquid drano, 5 gallon buckets, the dozens of fatal if ingested home cleaning products, and many, many more?

  25. Maybe my thinking is all wrong, but my doctors work for me. I pay them. Why is it that doctors seem to think we want their advise on anything other than why we are there? Why do they seem to have the holier than thou attitude that we must take their advise? Why do they get defensive when we question them about it? I find this whole medical profession attitude that they know what’s best for us offensive. And I have no problem telling them so when it happens.

  26. Did anyone else find the irony in in the whiny folks telling Doctors to be sneaky while complaining that they can’t have an honest discussion about guns

  27. Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?

    Patient: No shit! How did you know that?

    Clinician: It is right here in your DNC dossier.

    Patient: Actually Richard. Can I call you Richard? I’m a NRA trained Range Safety Officer. If fact, on the days I work our ranges, yes I said ranges there are 5 of them, I supervise at least a dozen RSOs and 200 shooters. So I know a little about firearm safety. What the hell do you know about firearms?

    Clinician: Er…actually my name is Tom like it says right here on my nametag. I know absolutely nothing about guns but DNC has my family in a FEMA re-education camp and therefore I am forced to do their bidding.

    Patient: You poor bastard.

  28. “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights,” Joe the Plumber, the cartoonish mascot of modern American conservatism, told the parents of mass shooting victims last year.

    Yep. That pretty much sums it up for me too. The “If-we-can-save-just-one-child’s-life” argument is just a smarmy, cheap-ass attempt to con naive people into giving up their liberty and freedom.

  29. My reply would be…”That’s interesting doc. I would think the lifespan would be longer because they have a way to defend themselves against those who would do them harm. Of course I don’t have to worry because I have a minefield surrounding my property”.

  30. If your Doctor asks you any of these ridiculous questions, get another Doctor! Mine would not bother to ask this crap. My Doctor’s look after my health, period.

  31. “Clinician: If we look at you and your family members’ life expectancy calculations on this scale, they come in a little lower than most because there’s a gun in the home. I wonder what you think of this?”

    A – “I don’t recall asking you to run those calculations, or bringing up guns in the home or anywhere else.”

    Clinician:

    A – Well, you can decide if you want to be beholden to some statistical model of “public health”, in which you are an agent, and I am an object. I would like you to assist me in managing my own health, for my own benefit – that’s what I thought the relationship was here. Am I mistaken? I can leave.

    Clinician:

    A – If you have a personal concern about guns as an individual health issue, I’ll listen to your reasons. If you have a particular reason to be concerned that I’m at particular risk of injury from guns in my world, I’d like to hear that.

    Also, I think that’s an issue for my insurance. Unless I have an injury I haven’t noticed, or a weapon surgically attached, I think we’re talking statistical odds of some bad outcome. Are you my broker & life coach, now?

    I got into exactly this “public health issue” BS some months back. After unwinding that the impetus was because it’s a “public health issue”, I was curious. So, having guns in the world is an injury, as in I’m bleeding right now and I don’t know it. Oh, it’s a *potential* injury. Like an infection? Guns are a virus? Oh, they’re cholesterol … well they got that right, didn’t they?

    In the end, I got to: “Well, when I hear “public health” I think of the “health” part as to do with a normal, ongoing biological process; in humans in groups when we say “public” health. I don’t think a gun in the home is fatty food, or arthritis.

    Really, like a car, it’s *consequences* *may* become health when the mechanism intersects with someone’s body in a bad way: you run into someone, or breather in copper brake-dust. Before that, it’s the *risk* of the *health thing developing*, which has to do with how the car is made, but isn’t a “health” issue. Or are you a mechanic, now?

    This gradual morphing of definitions is an evil, evil tactic. In the end, the more they can make a “public health issue” the more they get to tell other people what to do. In the end, that’s the whole motivation for most of them. The rest is just cover.

  32. Just made an interesting discovery. I can get to TTAG’s website and the NRA’s website just fine. But trace.org is blocked as a weapons site. (of course, our IT admin is a big 2A guy…)

  33. Well, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I’m a primary care physician in Texas. I have all sorts of patients come to my office, and I used to have a question on the Adult Health History form from my former employers that asked if my patient had any firearms. When I went independent (a dying breed) I changed it to “Do you have any questions about firearms safety?” In the last 5 years, I have had one person answer yes. He sounded like many people on this forum, looking for a reason to brand me a hoplophobe. No such luck. I said 1) I am not qualified to give definitive advice regarding firearms safety, but 2) Cooper’s 4 rules are a good guideline, and if you follow them your chance of a bad event is low and 3) If you wish to know more, you should contact the NRA, which is probably the best source of training for safety easily available. He couldn’t fault me for that.

    I had another patient who had had a stroke. He couldn’t load 380 ACP into his magazine for a Beretta 84. I bought him a magazine loader (HKS 380) as a lark, because I like him. He seemed pleased and grateful. So I probably won’t fit well into Obamacare. Oh well. F them.

  34. Well, I’ve lived a week where I think it would be appropriate for a doctor to talk about guns. My mother-in-law had a veryild stroke last week. It was mild enough to discharge her the next day, but she is still on restricted activities for now and we are having to take some notable safety precautions. In safe-proofing the household while she’s staying with us, it would have been entirely appropriate to remind us to keep them safe from her while she recovers along with driving, tools, kitchen knives, things shed trip over and the bathtub.

    Then again, there’s a difference between quizzing you about whether you have guns and simply including them amongst all the other common household dangers for a post-CVA patient staying with you.

  35. While reading new responses, I was reminded of the statement on political donation forms that says “We’re required by federal law to ask for your occupation and income”, or something like that. I always get creative with my answers, things like:

    “Isn’t that special!”
    “I’m sorry.”
    “Fine — you asked.”
    “Give my regards to the NSA.”

    I’m going to have to come up with some snarky answers in case a doctor asks about guns. Like….

    “Does a super-soaker count?”
    “Well, I have a nail gun, a staple gun, a caulking gun….”
    “My neighbor, a retired Marine sergeant, says that equipment between my legs is a gin.”
    “I have a lot of DVDs with movies that have guns.”
    “Why? Do you want to buy one?”

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