Mailbag – Run and Gun Edition

Dr. J.’s pediatrician would give the little girl on the left, a thumbs up. The little girl on the right, not so much. 

Dr. J. received a couple of missives regarding his post about federal law as it applies to President Obama’s Mediguntastic™ executive order.

Operative ‘.38 Special’ BG writes in:

Okay, I get it. My doctor can’t be required to ask me if I own a gun. Of course, if he doesn’t and I turn out to be the next mass murderer, it seems to me he’s setting himself up for a big lawsuit, and you have to figure the Department of Justice will do its level best to see if they can lodge some kind of criminal charge as well. I figure a doctor would have to be crazy not to ask about a patient’s gun ownership these days. 

So what is the non-psychotic, law-abiding gun owner to do when asked if he owns a gun?

If he answers “yes,” the doctor has to instruct him on gun safety even if the patient has responsibly taken an NRA basic gun safety course. We are assured that the patient’s gun ownership will not go into any database. Am I to believe the doctor would make no written note of my answer? 

If the patient refuses to answer the question, will the conversation end right there? Or will the doctor note, “Patient refused to discuss gun ownership,” as if that’s some sort of red flag. And will the doctor conclude that the patient probably does own a gun? And that his evasiveness and mendacity bears watching? 

Can you think of any good reason that a sane, law-abiding gun owner should not lie, and answer that he does not own a gun? 

— Operative (.38 Special) BG

In addition, LTC Dan writes in:

Dr. J, 

I hesitate to write to the esteemed Gormogons again so soon, but this is a topic that is important to me, as it obviously is to you. 

Your missive “Take Two Glocks And Call Me In The Morning” reminded me of a form I had seen in the past. It is linked to this page.  I have never been asked by a physician about gun ownership. I’m not sure if I would answer at all. But I would be sorely tempted to produce this form if the physician pressed the issue. 

I await your thoughts, 


Dear BG and LTC Dan:

Thanks for writing.

Here are the forms LTC Dan asked Dr. J. to peruse:

Those forms are a doozy! Dr. J. is grateful that he is a specialist, rather than a primary care provider. Beyond a bullet or pellet resting somewhere in the mediastinum, it really doesn’t fall on his radar. He thought of forwarding it to a friend in risk management at NAITMC but then thought against the fallout. His friend might suspect that someone actually sprung the form on Dr. J. in the patient setting. Besides he didn’t want to pull his friend off the golf course. 
The US Preventative Services Taskforce gather all of the preventive recommendations with the science behind them in one place. 
There are presently no recommendations regarding preventive screening and firearms for adults. 
They are mentioned in the AAP guidelines for accident prevention
This states:
“Firearm Safety: In addition to removing firearms from the home environment where children explore and play, it is important for parents to ask whether there is a gun in any home that their child visits. If the parents choose to keep a firearm in the home, the unloaded gun and ammunition must be kept in separate locked cabinets.”
So, Dr. J. thought about this from the patient perspective. 
Dr. J.’s kids go to a pediatrician, who by all outward appearances, is no handwringing liberal. At the Lil Resident and Lil Medstudent’s checkups he goes through age appropriate screening to remind Clan J. to make sure the environment we are raising our children in is safe. It’s pretty cursory but age appropriate. Does it include firearms, sure, but it is pretty clear he following the AAP guidelines for accident prevention. In fact, Dr. J. doesn’t think he even asks if we possess firearms, or a pool, but speaks entirely in the subjunctive. “If you have a pool, pool locks are recommended, if you have a trampoline, you are the worst human being in the world, if you possess firearms…etc., etc, etc.” Frankly he spent more time informing the Lil Medstudent that parking lots are the most clear and present danger to him and that Dr. J. gets one free swat on the Lil Medstudent’s ass if the Lil Medstudent breaks Dr. J.’s grip and runs ahead. 

Dr. J. doesn’t recall him asking us to ask whether there is a gun in any home the child visits. Dr. J. can’t speak to the merits of separate locked locations for guns and ammo, nor does he recall the pediatrician opining. Dr. J. does have friends who have firearms and did make sure they’re stored appropriately before the Lil Medstudent comes over for the first time. That’s called parenting. Fortunately Dr. J.’s friends who pack heat are the ones he wants teaching him and the Lil Medstudent.

Again, all of this shows the impotence of the President’s executive order for physicians. Only pediatricians have guidelines that recommend discussing firearms. Your doctor can ask you anything, but in the case of guns, it’s not guideline driven, and thus not germane to the encounter (unless you are seeing him for powderburns or a through-and-through in your calf). It really is laughable in this context.

Even pediatric guidelines are for the purpose of reducing risk of accidents, not reducing risk of death in a home invasion. You, as a liberty loving American, must weigh the risks and benefits both, do what you think is right to mitigate the former as you address the latter. Gun safety courses for all appropriately aged family members strikes Dr. J. as the most sensible approach.

About Dr. J.

Dr. J. was born the son of a New Atlantean sharecropper who cornered the market on notoriously delicious seaweed Himanthalia elongata (popularly known as Thongweed). With his newly minted seaweed fortune, Mr. J. the Elder sent his son to attend the Academy of Sorcery, Alchemy and Surgery where the good doctor apprenticed with the finest sorcerer surgeons in New Atlantis. Dr. J.'s areas of expertise grew to include bleeding, cutting for stone, trephination, medical divination with outstanding spatial and temporal resolution, cybernetic sorcery and medicinal alchemy. When King Orin of Atlantis fell ill with the Ick, Dr. J. stepped in with an elixir he devised from a combination of minerals, herbs and saps. Curing the king, Dr. J. gained significant notoriety which afforded him the luxury of time to devote himself to his side hobbies which include porpoise racing, the study of supply-side economics, cooking and raising his lovely merchildren alongside his lovely bride the archconservative Mrs. Dr. J.