If you haven’t yet been asked by your healthcare provider whether you have guns in the home, be prepared for it. More and more healthcare providers are asking, and you need to have your answer prepared.
I knew that a recent visit to my family doctor wasn’t going to be fun. It had been a long time since my last visit. In addition, it was also time to schedule that one test that all of us hate the most! So, there I was sitting on the edge of the table answering questions from his assistant, when I was suddenly knocked backward by one question I wasn’t prepared for. The question had two parts: First, do I have guns in the home, and second, if yes, are those guns unloaded and locked in a safe? [Was it only a coincidence that the magazine I was reading in the waiting room was the August 2015 issue of Scientific American featuring an article on page 10 titled “Docs, Glocks and Stray Bullets” (professing that physicians who fail to discuss gun safety with patients are performing a disservice for public health)]?
I couldn’t imagine how that question was relevant to my medical care. So, I decided to do a little research to help both of us. My first fear was that my answer would somehow make its way into a government computer somewhere. You should know that even under ObamaCare, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have not been adopted by every physician. In my case, the question was asked because the physician’s office had just adopted electronic medical records and the question was just part of their new EMR package. In addition, ObamaCare cannot be used as a way to create a database of individuals who own guns. My second fear was that medical care would be different (or withheld) if I refused to answer the question. The reality is that under ObamaCare the physician cannot require that the question be answered; however, asking such a question and recording the answer is not prohibited. This means that although my medical care was not dependent on answering the question, if I did answer the question, my response was on my official record somewhere.
A third concern was whether a medical care provider could “manufacture” some reason why my possession of firearms or ammunition was relevant to my medical care. For example, I have a close friend suffering from minor PTSD. Arguably PTSD is relevant to medical care and therefore could cause a gun response on firearms to be relevant and recorded in the official chart. What about a woman with mi-nor children in the home? Is her possession of a firearm relevant to the medical care of her children? Can the doctor ask the child whether there are firearms in the home? As you can see, this is a very thorny topic. As for me, I can see no reason how a question about firearms or ammunition is relevant to my medical care. I understand the argument that the Second Amendment does not protect me or innocent victims from gun violence. I even agree with reasonable restrictions to prevent people with a mental handicap from obtaining firearms or am-munition. However, my position will continue to be that the best response to such questions is to refuse to answer, explaining that such information is not relevant to my medical care. The truth always works for me.