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Doctors Asking Patients About Guns

July 6, 2015

Per the NRA, federal law does not require that a question about gun ownership be included in every medical history. In fact, Dr. Timothy Wheeler, head of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership¬†(DRGO) says physicians promoting an anti-gun agenda are violating medical ethics by committing a “boundary violation” by asking such a question.

When Obamacare was moving through Congress, the NRA acted to ensure that the program could not be used as a formal legal basis for mandating inquiries and record-keeping about gun ownership. Section 2716(c) of the Affordable Care Act is titled “Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights.”

Subsection (c)(1) states that “A wellness and health promotion activity” implemented under Obamacare “may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to” lawful possession or storage of firearms or ammunition in a person’s residence.

The next subsection, (c)(2), states that nothing in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, the formal name for Obamacare) authorizes the collection of information about the lawful possession or storage of firearms or ammunition.

Finally, (c)(3) says that nothing in the PPACA “shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.”

This is certainly a good start, as it prevents Obamacare from being used to mandate gun data collection. But according to the Obama administration, it doesn’t prevent physicians from asking the gun question-and recording the answer.

On Jan. 16, 2013, President Barack Obama issued a host of executive actions about gun control. Eight days later, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an FAQ about Obamacare implementation Question five was, “Does PHS Act section 2717(c) restrict communications between health care professionals and their patients concerning firearms or ammunition?”

The Obama administration’s answer: “No. … The statute prohibits an organization operating a wellness or health promotion program from requiring the disclosure of information relating to certain information concerning firearms. However, nothing in this section prohibits or otherwise limits communication between health care professionals and their patients, including communications about firearms. Health care providers can play an important role in promoting gun safety.”

Per the NRA, federal law does not require that a question about gun ownership be included in every medical history. In fact, Dr. Timothy Wheeler, head of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership¬†(DRGO) says physicians promoting an anti-gun agenda are violating medical ethics by committing a “boundary violation” by asking such a question.

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