Doctor and Patient (courtesy golocalworcester.com)

“WHILE MASSACHUSETTS already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and took steps last year to tighten access to firearms, the data show there are simple measures that could be taken to further curb gun violence,” bostonglobe.com‘s editorial writers opine. “One glaring place to start is to recognize that gun violence against the most vulnerable members of society — children and youth — is largely preventable. Massachusetts health care providers could lead the nation in helping lower the rate of firearm suicides among teenagers by adopting a requirement to advise parents about the risks of guns in the home.” Really? Where’s the evidence that a doctor talking to the parent of a teen would reduce the risk of firearms-related suicides (of the teens)? Oh, I forgot. Facts are either optional or malleable for civilian disarmament crusaders. Like this . . .

Many lives could be saved. In 2010, 51 percent of all suicides in the United States were by gun. Studies show that a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide for everyone living in the household: the gun owner, the gun owner’s spouse, and the gun owner’s children.

Wait. The presence of a gun in a house increases the risk of suicide? Are guns demonic? Do they make people crazy and then whisper a way out? Anyway, what’s the possibility of suicide got to do with doctors talking to patients about guns, knives, cleaning products, unused prescription pills, etc.? Shouldn’t they address the psychological issues rather than potentially deadly household items?

Because guns! Guns make it easier to commit suicide, supposedly. (Again, “common sense” anti-gun agitprop replaces verifiable, repeatable scientific data.) Which is why the Globe’s suggesting that Docs could – sorry should – convince parents to get rid of their guns or lock them up as a method of suicide prevention, rather than, say, lobbying for greater access to psychiatric treatment. Or better psychiatric treatment.

Safer storage of guns reduces injuries, and physician counseling linked with distribution of cable locks appears [italics added] to increase safer storage. All the same, the safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms. “There’s evidence that suggests that even when we teach kids gun safety, children will still play with guns. Children’s curiosity is a wonderful thing, but it can get them into trouble,” said Dr. Robert Sege, a Brookline-based pediatrician who co-authored the AAP’s policy statement on physicians and guns.

So ban civilian gun ownership. That’s the safest thing to do. For the children! And teens! (Which the antis call children for the sake of argument.) Of course, banning guns goes against the grain in states where citizens defend their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Where voters don’t want doctors prying into firearms ownership. A perspective the Globe considers . . . and rejects. And how!

Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association acted pre-emptively to stop pediatric gun counseling. In Florida, the NRA lobbied to make it illegal for doctors to question patients regarding guns, citing gun owners’ rights to privacy and constitutional rights. So in 2011, the Sunshine state passed what is known as the “gun-gag” law prohibiting doctors from discussing gun safety with patients. It was upheld last year by a federal court. At least 10 other states have introduced similar bills since the Florida legislation was signed into law in 2011, according to the AAP.

Here is a chance for Massachusetts to go in the other direction, and make the safety of children and adolescents a public safety priority.

And here’s a chance for all rational Americans to see what happens when you make your gun laws “tougher.” It opens the floodgates to government interference in every aspect of human behavior. How great is that?

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72 Responses to Boston Globe: Require Doctors to “Advise” Patients About Guns

      • The point is within the editorial are presentation of claims appearing to be objective which are not. EG
        Safer storage of guns reduces injuries, and physician counseling linked with distribution of cable locks appears [italics added] to increase safer storage

        Safe storage laws have zero effect

    • The Globe was part of the NYT group, and sold as it was declining, just as the NYT is circling the toilet bowl in ad revenue, subscriptions, and eyeballs. There will always be a market for self-referential smug moral superiority in the Elite Who Know Whats Best for The Little People, but everyone else, on the coasts and flyover country just shrugs and moves on. Journalism died awhile back, at least at the big papers and broadcasters. Its just PR and agitprop now.

      No sense giving yourself a stroke getting angry, its taking care of itself, and thats why you are seeing these increasingly illogical, hysterical, and soviet style missives to the Left koolaid drinkers.

      Just keep calm, and carry on. Do more of what works- educate, inform the curious in the middle, take someone to the range, give money to NRA and SAF, and get out the vote for people who share your appreciation for our god-given, natural rights to freedom of individuals from the State.

      • Hmmm…that’s what Bill O’Reilly and several of his regular guests keep saying, so O’Reilly is just throwing out red herrings to keep us all fooled, and you’re including any “News” source on the Internet, as well. Right? Personally, I think American Journalism has always had political and social biases because we Americans are so opinionated and, face it, News Media is “owned” by private interests who either kowtow to the Government or the very wealthy. Do you have any sources you think are reliable? This is not Socratic, you keep making such remarks and I just want to know if you trust any “news” source, and, if so, which ones.

        • IMO there is no perfect or reliable news source anywhere. The mainstream news essentially shapes public thought and opinion, its purpose being pure propaganda. Alternative news sites on the internet are loaded with misinformation, much of it intentional, with a plethora of its own red herrings designed to lead to dead ends attempting to discredit skeptics of the official storylines. Not sure if I answered your question, maybe not sure its possible.

        • You answered my question with an assessment that pretty much matches mine. I don’t find any “News” service serving up “Gospel Truth”. I try to look at a variety of sources and sift out what I think might be the case, but it is not always possible. Thanks! I appreciate it.

  1. I donno – a li’l talk might make sense.

    How about:

    Your son is a bit depressed, and teens sometimes do Ill-considered, irreversible things.

    If there are firearms in your home, you might consider locking them up – excepting your carry gun, of course. Also, perhaps you could arrange your sleeping space in such a way as to avoid his “borrowing” it at 0400.

    This way, we can reduce the likelihood of his choosing a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    • And what about the knives in the kitchen? The rope in the garage? The car in the garage? The chemicals under the sink? The medicine in the medicine cabinet? The alcohol in the wine fridge? The water in the bathtub? The second-story windows?

      • Maybe if your teenager is depressed, you should try to take all reasonable steps to keep him/her safe?

        I don’t see why this is a problem for you.

        • It’s the specific, agenda-driven focus on firearms that’s the issue. Locking up the guns might be a good idea, but it’s probably not really what you should be worrying about at the moment. If the kid is so depressed that he or she might impulsively kill themselves at any moment, then it might be time for in-patient treatment.

        • Maybe if your teenager is depressed, you should try to take all reasonable steps to keep him/her safe?

          There’s no possible way to do that, unless you live in a sterile bubble.

          If someone is that much of a danger to himself, the only solution is for that person to be placed somewhere that renders him unable to act on his suicidal tendencies. You can’t stop suicide by controlling things. You have to treat the person.

        • A doctor can already say something in the clinical situation you describe. And he’s not going to just talk about making sure the guns are locked up. He’ll mention keeping a watch on the medicine cabinet, missing knifes, etc. as well. Guns won’t be singled out.

          That doesn’t apply to this article, though. The article is about a general law mandating that doctors teach their patients that guns are bad. That’s a very different issue.

        • Grindstone, the problem is you did not read the editorial. It is all about a focus on guns. That is likely more harmful than helpful since it makes people think access to guns is the issue with suicide, when it is not

    • I just took a new job outside of Boston. I live in RI (bad enough), but I would rather drive 40 miles each way (which is actually 90 minutes each way) rather than move to that vile “commonwealth” and become a subject of the State. RI sucks, but not as bad as MA. I couldn’t even move there without having to deal with FID cards, police chiefs, non compliant firearms, and so on.

  2. Of course the Globe also recommends doctors counsel patients about poisonous household chemicals, swimming pools, fires, stairways and electricity, each of which kill far more kids than guns.

    Right?

  3. Ummm, Yes because we know exactly how well that works when the doctor mentions smoking, alcohol, exercise and dieting. How about the doctor ask parents if they have a pool, a bath tub or a bucket of water at home because drowning is more likely to happen in a child.

  4. Hey Doc, you do the medicine thing, and I’ll do the rational thought thing. I know just how stupid the average med-school student is. I’ve seen your first and second year exams. Quite frankly, if my doctor tried to “advise” me about something he knows nothing about, he’d be the one in need of medical attention.

    • You know, in my field (engineering) we can lose our license to practice if we practice outside of our field of expertise. Too bad doctors aren’t held to the same high standard….

  5. Considering that many more people are killed by medical malpractice than guns, I think patients should discuss malpractice with their doctors.

  6. Studies show that a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide for everyone living in the household…

    Correlation does not prove causation, chief.

    All the same, the safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms.

    Really? What about the home with firearms, but no swimming pool, or no car, no household chemicals? Single story? Married mother and father? What are the criteria for “safest” here?

    Dr. Robert Sege, a Brookline-based pediatrician who co-authored the AAP’s policy statement on physicians and guns.

    And what, exactly, qualifies physicians to advise patients with respect to firearms?

    Here is a chance for Massachusetts to go in the other direction, and make the safety of children and adolescents a public safety priority.

    Pop quiz: which contributes more to childhood mortality, accidental firearms discharges, or medical malpractice.

    Physician: heal thyself.

  7. My family is replete with doctors, and a few nurses and other professionals. All of those who are physicians would be glad to speak to their patients about guns. My family physician (and family member) often speaks with me about his guns and my guns and what and where we will go hunting, if I have found another feral hog, what point buck I last shot, and we remind one other to keep up our proficiency and safety procedures, if we have had any confrontations with miscreants seeking to rob us, wound us, or kill us lately? We have some great conversations about guns, while we all have gun racks in our trucks and carry at least one shotgun and one rifle there, in a state where we have legal open carry and easy concealed carry.

  8. As a shooter, instructor and health care provider (Trauma Surgery and Critical Care), I think the idea is beyond stupid.

    I’m not sure that a liability carrier (malpractice-type) would think about a provider giving advice in a field about which they have no training nor expertise.

    The only conversation I get into with patients about guns involves the whats-in-your-safe kind.

    And an occasional 1911/Glock discussion…..

  9. Government is always one-size-fits-all. Of course, a doctor who is sensitive to the particular circumstances of an individual case might think it is a good idea to talk to the family about suicide prevention, which includes securing firearms. But the government-mandate will be to recommend the same solution to every case, and it will always be along the lines of the preferred solution of disarmament.

  10. For the children! And teens! (Which the antis call children for the sake of argument.)

    And 21 year olds are “teens”.

    I sure wish their math was real, because I’m 42 and 35 is looking pretty good from here.

  11. Doctors, trained in medicine, should advise their patients about guns. Me, trained in firearms instruction, should advise my doctor about surgery. Because that way it all makes sense.

    Instead of doctors worrying about suicide with firearms, maybe they should be worried about 100,000 homicides every year by bad physicians.

    • Or perhaps on situation awareness. That as 10% income are a ripe target for muggers and thus SHOULD be armed, Asst with selection of a gat and instruction in it’s use.

  12. I went to a health clinic on Monday for some fairly serious medical problems. The questionaire was absolute BS…IE do you have a gun,are you depressed, do you feel hopeless, do you use illegal drugs,etc…? I know enough not to answer yes to any damn thing. My doctor is fairly cool but I wish he was George above. I’m also happy I don’t have to worry about teens in the house getting into my weapons. I can only see this BS getting worse…

    • “The questionaire was absolute BS…IE do you have a gun,are you depressed, do you feel hopeless, do you use illegal drugs,etc…?”

      I got the same dance about a year back when my kidney stones came back for a repeat performance.

      I was just as puzzled as you were and asked her who she was.

      My brain was a bit fuzzy from the heavy IV hit of Demerol as she told me she was the hospital social worker. I gave her a WTF look. “Just routine” she said.

      Hm.

        • “I would’ve appreciated a poppy derivative on Monday LOL…”

          Yikes. I feel for you…

          That Demerol was the *only* good part of that kidney stone attack…

  13. I don’t discuss my aches and pains with my gunsmith. Why would I discuss my guns with my doctor? Doctors are experts about matters of “health”, not “safety” from mis-use of firearms, or any other possible injury such as auto accidents.
    “Shoemaker, stick to your last”.

  14. I am sure telling a single mother of a gangbanger that she shouldn’t allow her gangbanging son to have gun will have a big impact/sarc.

  15. I have to go to a rent a doc/clinic out of town for an employer physical. Might be entertaining. Need to work up some good straightlines.

  16. Let’s cut to the chase…This is what you get when Government gets involved in Health Care..politicalization! Next the politicians will be demanding your Medical Doctor talk to you about your teen’s driving habits and skills, how loud he/she plays their ipod music, where he/she goes on Dates, what they do in their spare time and how about a “check-up” on their Political leanings…the list will get longer and longer.

    We need to separate the Government from the Health Care System.

    • “We need to separate the Government from the Health Care System.”

      Just what the hell do you think the ‘Affordable Care Act’ aka ‘Obama Care’ is?

      What do you think the now-computerized health care data, your data, will be used for?

      • To answer both your questions, “The intrusion of Government into the Health Care System, where it has no goddamned business being! If you need to be hit over the head with a two-by-four to “get it”…We need to separate Government from the Health Care System by repealing the Affordable Health Care Law aka Obamacare! Verstehen Sie?

  17. If you want to make a difference, you could go to the Globe and make a calm reasoned point by point response to the more obvious fallacies and inaccuracies fronted by the Doc, including the fallacy of authority. Drs have plenty to do already, under Obamacare, and dont need to be giving gun-advice at the direction of the Progtards in Chief. I am sure there are a great many health care pros who feel the same way.

    There might be a few about to be conservatives in the Globes readership. y’know liberals mugged by reality, so if you point them to a couple good resources, like TTAG or someplace else for beginning gun interest, they can take that next step. And they will be hooked, if they can think independently.

    Thats how we win, one voter at a time. Grassroots organizations horizontally integrated, supporting one another moving towards the same moral goals, with specific objectives state by state, county by county as needed, to change the vote, and put in politcians who get it… (A central lesson learned from the CCW movement’s success, with great patience, per “The Rise of the Antimedia”)

  18. Can all the doctors who stood up in outrage about FL’s violation of their freedom of speech please stand up with the same outcry about this idea?… ….

    I’m a pediatrician, please don’t legislate what I should do, unless you want to pay me for my time… For the record, I can be bought!

    • “I’m a pediatrician, please don’t legislate what I should do, unless you want to pay me for my time… For the record, I can be bought!”

      I bet you’re dreading the reimbursement rate the ACA has in store for you and your fellow docs.

      • Well considering pediatrics was the second lowest paid field right after psych we actually went up with the ACA, not down, but I still don’t like it since TANSTAAFL.

    • Lol, pediatricians were bought, coerced long ago by the pharmaceuticals. Today, if a pediatrician doesn’t push vaccines on his/her patients, he/she can expect total harassment from the insurance carriers. the insurance carriers are in bed with the pharmaceuticals, its all part of the cartel.

  19. More education about how to keep kids safe from guns is a good thing.
    Just not directed top-down by the FEDGOV. We have Amtrak, the USPS, IRS, ATF, and FNMA/Freddie, GM, Solyndra, and Obamacare now, to reflect on how well thats working…

    Its up to parents to step up to the plate, and seek good advice- theres no dearth of it, on the innertubes.
    We dont need Uncle Sugar telling us how to be parents.

    Just like child-proofing drawers and cabinets so toddlers dont get into the bleach under the sink,
    and installing gates and fences properly, so they dont walk into the pool,
    and safety plugs in the electrical outlets, so they dont poke a fork in the 120v,
    or using the child seat properly in the SUV, so they dont get neck-broke by the airbag in the front seat,
    or …
    you get my drift.

    Besides, this is a non-starter on a real-world basis:
    If the Dr had to go down this laundry list lecturing do this do that per the FEDGOV checklist,
    he’d NEVER get to the barely 15 minutes they can afford now of listening to your health issues, heart and lungs and reviewing your record, to give a hasty diagnosis, which is basically all they have time to do, to break even under Medicare.

    Keep Calm and Carry On.
    The Globe is a self-pwn’ing progtard echo chamber at this point. In another couple of years they will be hoping that someone, anyone will buy them for a buck, like Newsweek…

  20. I need to make an appointment with my gunsmith to check out this skin tag, then take my blackhawk to the doctor for a trigger tune.

  21. If a doctor limited himself to advising parents with small children especially (like ones about to learn to crawl) to make sure to safely store alcohol, cleaning chemicals, prescriptions and weapons out of their reach. Even if they went as far as to say merely hiding these things or putting them high up isn’t enough as they get old enough to climb, that you should talk to your child about safety and securely store things they shouldn’t have, I would be fine with that.

    That generic broad advice doesn’t exceed competence and doesn’t require them to pry. There is no tailored info a doctor can give a parent that a doctor, qua doctor, is qualified to give that would be given only in the case of guns or require them to know.

    Heck I wouldn’t even mind a FAQ pamphlet for new parents that gives links to resources that might explain, e.g., proper storage of a gun, among other things. Making such info available doesn’t require that doctor to pry about gun ownership, or take on the mantle of competent expert in non-medical matters.

    • A very real problem with all that is the sad fact that people who might actually NEED such advice are probably the least likely to listen to it or heed it. Think about the “warning labels” on things… Do most people really need to be warned not to take a hair dryer into the shower? And if they ignore the label, does a larger, more intrusive label make a difference? Not that I can see.

      Life is risky. Most good judgment comes from surviving a lot of bad judgment. And learning from it.

  22. Many years ago, I read a science fiction novel called “Caduceus Wild”. Amazon describes the plot as:

    ” The Medarchy was a tyranny that only a tiny minority considered oppressive. Practically speaking, the Medarchy, was a sane and healthful society where the doctor’s prescription was law, and everyone had to carry a medical chart with him at all times. How could the underground opposition—referred to as the maladjusted, or “the mallies”—hope to overturn such a system, when so few could see that cradle-to-grave regulation of a person’s life (in the name of “health”) robbed him of all human dignity?”

    With Obamacare upon us, that fiction may be turning into fact. After all, they only want what is best for us, in their opinion.

  23. I’ll consider taking gun safety advice from a doctor if they can show me an NRA or Gunsite training certificate.

    But I’ll also deduct the time from their billing statement….

  24. Here’s the gun advice I want from my doctor:

    Doc: There is a new law that says here I have to advise you about guns. So whatcha’ packin”?

    Me: I carry a PPQ nine.

    Doc: That’s a nice gun, but from a medical perspective, I really recommend a .40. Much better temporary wound cavity.I’ll write you a prescription you can have filled at your LGS.

    Me: Thanks, Doc, I feel better already!

  25. Someone here left the following comment on as similar TTAG post a while back. I saved the comment but the posters name got chopped off. Imagine the following:

    Pediatrician: “The APA and myself recommend getting rid of all firearms in the home because your child could get hurt. Do you have any guns in your home?”

    Me: “What is your malpractice insurance carrier?”

    Pediatrician: “What? Why do you need that information?”

    Me: “Are you ex-military, or ex-law-enforcement, with standing credentials in firearms safety from an accredited organization such as the NRA? Are you a certified firearms safety instructor? Are you an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer?”

    Pediatrician: “NO! Why?!”

    Me: “You are a licensed medical doctor. I am going to write your malpractice insurance and the medical board, and tell them you are giving recommendations that you are not qualified to give.”

    Pediatrician: “What are you talking about?”

    Me: “You are giving recommended advice outside of your training and experience. You just told me you have no credentials in the area of firearms safety. To me that is unprofessional and unethical.”

    Pediatrician: “Perhaps we should just move on.”

    Me: “Smart move, Doc.”

    • I would be walking out at that point. He/she does not need my money or the money from my very high end insurance carrier. And, I would still file the complaint to see how these groups respond.

    • Luckily, none of the docs I go to (and I go to a LOT of them now!) have ever asked me about guns, or tried to tell me that guns were too dangerous to have in the home.

      But I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall if someone actually had a conversation like this one with an “anti” Doc!

  26. Let doctors “advise” their patients about the harmfulness of abortion, or that laws only regulate the lawful, or the wrongful nature of anyone’s advice on guns, or advise their patients against the stupidity of libs and dems.

  27. Why does it have to be about guns? This xx% more likely to kill themselves if there is a gun in the house is complete bovine fecal matter. The only thing that study shows is that if you have a suicidal person in your house they will likely pick the easiest way to get the job done.

    So how about this, “Mr Soandso, your son has been chronically depressed and is showing signs of suicidal tendencies and social withdrawal, you might want to keep a closer eye on him, maybe spend some more time with him etc, possibly look into therapy…”

    That’s what a Doctor should be doing, make you aware of a developing health problem you might have overlooked, and provide a couple examples of ways that can help that actually treat the cause instead of lecturing you about how to keep your firearms stored. It sounds cold but junior will just work his way down the list of available tools until he finds something else that gets the job done. South Korea has one of the worst adolescent suicide rates in the world, and the police don’t even have guns there, yet no one has a problem finding a way to jump off a building or walk out into traffic etc.

    If you dont want someone to kill themselves then you find out what is causing them to be depressed etc… you dont lock them in a room and take away all dangerous implements, or pump them full of chemicals that shut down parts of their brain. This stems from the classic kick the can down the road/ “not my problem” mentality that everyone seems to have, starting with these kids’ parents.

  28. Love how they completely neglect to consider the deaths caused by disarming the public.
    Nationally, the percentage of home break ins that occur in occupied homes is around 15%. But if one broke out the percentages by county, one would probably find a picture that mimics the murder rate by county. Counties in highly restrictive gun control state are orders of magnitude higher than the national average that is under 5 per 100,000.
    It is probably a safe bet that Boston, NYC, and Chicago experience a much higher percentage of occupied home break ins.

  29. So when are the attorneys going to start “advising” their clients about firearms (at no cost to the client, of course)? Especially the gang bangers they represent in court!

  30. Okay, let’s do this. My doctor can advise me about guns, and I can advise him on prescribing antibiotics. But I draw the line at prostate exams. Not going there.

  31. If these people were concerned about guns in the home they could instruct doctors to give out safe storage pamphlets similar to ones given out about household chemicals or car seats. The NSSF would be happy to give them all of the necessary brochures and materials associated with the “Project Childsafe Program”.

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