The Gun Question

Doctors should not routinely ask their patients about guns in their homes.

This practice has been vigorously advocated by medical organizations whose official policies are openly hostile to the rights of gun owners. In some cases, such as the official policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is a prelude to urging patients to get rid of their guns. When doctors’ inquiries about their patients’ guns are used as a tactic to prejudice patients against gun ownership, or to persuade them to give up their right to own guns, that questioning constitutes unethical physician conduct. Such politically motivated questioning is an ethical boundary violation, and the offending doctor should be disciplined.

Doctor inquiries of patients are legitimate when they are motivated by real concern about patient safety, as in cases of mental incapacity or reasonable belief that a patient could misuse a firearm to harm himself or others.

Download the DRGO Resource Document “What to Do When Your Doctor Asks About Your Gunshere