latest

Boston Lawmakers Want to Require Doctors to Ask Patients about Guns

By: Teresa Mull

If some Boston lawmakers have their way, doctors will be required – under penalty of law – to ask patients about guns they might own.

The Daily Caller reports:

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration said Wednesday that the step would be taken to help health care providers statewide “play a larger role in addressing gun violence” by identifying red flags or patients at risk of suicide or domestic violence.

“We’re just asking them to help identify ways to save lives,” Boston Police Commissioner William Gross told the Boston Business Journal, adding that the legislation won’t suggest that doctors should solve crimes and that owning guns won’t be included in patients’ medical records.

The doctors and gun debate made headlines late last year after a shooting at a California nightclub. NBCNews reported at the time:

Doctors and medical officials have increasingly taken on gun violence as a public health issue. Last month, the American College of Physicians issued new guidelines for doctors to follow in helping protect patients from firearms dangers, and published several reports on gun violence in its flagship publication, the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“We need to ask our patients about firearms, counsel them on safe firearm behaviors, and take further action when an imminent hazard is present,” Dr. Garen Wintemute, of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California Davis Medical Center, wrote in one editorial in the magazine.

On Wednesday, the NRA took issue with the ACP, which represents more than 150,000 internal medicine specialists. “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” the group tweeted.

An organization known as “SAFE,” (Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic) is “demanding an increase in federal funding for gun violence research,” according to CNN, “and is calling on lawmakers to implement ‘evidence-based policy’ on guns.

“Medical professionals have grown increasingly vocal about guns in recent years. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practitioners and the American Academy of Pediatrics all released statements this year demanding federal action on firearms,” CNN reports.

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.