Should Doctors Decide Who Gets To Own A Gun?
Start writing a post
Politics

Should Doctors Decide Who Gets To Own A Gun?

Mental Health, guns, and physicians.

23
Should Doctors Decide Who Gets To Own A Gun?

It is a couple days after the nightclub massacre in Orlando that targeted the LGBT community, and my heart is heavy. I sat down with a friend the other day and as we grieved the tragedy and horrific prevalence of gun violence in America, he gave a suggestion most of us have probably heard: “What we need is a comprehensive database of mentally unstable people”.

The idea sounds simple, and mental health checks seem to be one of the only places where gun rights and gun control advocates can find common ground to discuss. In fact, some of the only legislation that has passed in recent years in regards to guns has been focused on mental health, for example a bill in North Carolina passed in 2013 that "requires county clerks of Superior Court to submit mental health adjudications to NICS within 48 hours of a judge’s ruling." In New York, a bill mandates mental-health professionals to report “dangerous patients” to local officials.

In their research, Jonathan Metzl MD, PhD and Kenneth T. MacLeish, PhD found that a key assumption that comes about after mass shootings is that “psychiatric diagnoses can predict gun crime before it happens”.

Doctors may appear to be the necessary link in understanding mental health and securing background checks. Many of the shooters in recent years appear to have documented mental health issues or were disturbed. In general, physicians are ethically and legally required to aid and report a person who could hurt themselves and others; if a physician has a patient who cannot physically see well enough to drive, yet insists to, it is necessary for them to report this for the wellbeing of the patient as well as those around them. The same could be said about someone should not have access to guns because of a mental illness.

On the other hand, the idea of having a rolling database of mentally ill people can be a great challenge for physicians. First of all, the number of people with mental health issues who act violently are far less than the total number of people who have mental health issues. Without research and benchmarks, there is no widespread, set standard at this time to determine who is considered fit to use gun. For physicians this creates another problem: Would this mean that any time a person with a mental illness commits a crime, it puts blood on the hands of the doctor? Would doctors be likely to report many more of their patients who seem mentally unstable in order to take precautions? The focus could potentially shift from whether guns should be available to why a shooter's doctor didn’t stop a tragedy.

One can see how this could possibly lead to a decrease in individuals seeking mental health support. A very foundation for successful physician-patient relationship is trust; a successful physician is one who upholds the values of integrity and privacy. Especially with an issue as stigmatized as mental health, a patient must feel that they can trust their doctor to open up and get help. In coming years, it will be important for physicians to ensure that they do not lose their place as trusting confidants. It is no doubt that the answer to curving gun violence is not a simple solution and will take conversations that include everyone - health professionals, lawmakers and civilians.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

7157
Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

13011
High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

10336
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!

10092

The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.

8746
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments