Nosy Doctors

Dr. Doolittle

Dr. Doolittle

We discussed the issue of doctors being nosy about guns in two previous YGN posts.

Today I find this article about how that issue is impacted by 0bamacare:

If Your Doctor Asks You About Guns, Do You Have to Answer?

The takeaway: the language of the so-called Affordable Care Act protects the rights of doctors to poke their nose where it does not belong, but it also says that the patient is not required to answer:

“”Most people will think they have to answer. They don’t need to answer under the law,” he [Judge Napolitano] explained.”



So, if you’re a gun owner and you go to the doctor and he/she starts asking questions about non-medical matters, what are your options?  Crapgame and I will look at your possible reactions.

1) Answer accurately

GNM: Well if you provide them with information, it will get written down somewhere.  And as we have learned in recent days, the political left has absolutely no qualms about crossing ethical lines to compile information on those they consider enemies.  The 0bama misadministration rummaged through the medical records of every judge in California! Could medical records with gun information be used to compile an illegal (under federal law) registry of guns?  Yes it most certainly can.  It might also cause your insurance to become more expensive or invalidate your coverage.

And if you tell the truth, they might attempt to lecture you (which might get heated).  They might treat you with suspicion.  They might allow their personal beliefs to distort their professional judgement (use a lower threshold for deciding who is mentally ill, etc.)  They might even decide to refuse treatment.

I believe that an intelligent gun owner who behaves calmly and arms him/herself with actual facts (low % of gun accident compared to other causes of death, guns not relevant to medical treatment, and the DEFCON 1 response for obnoxious doctors: rates of gun accident deaths vs. medical malpractice deaths, LOL) can shut down the gun questions most of the time.  But how many of us take the time to learn the actual facts?  And how many of us can remain calm when debating with a well-intentioned idiot?

Crapgame: Telling the truth has a con, in that they may waste your time with ignorant advice, as well as reporting the fact to the government, in direct violation of my privacy. The pro is that there’s no conflict.

2) Lie

GNM: You will be able to avoid any sort of confrontation.  But you might be enabling and emboldening doctors to keep violating their patients privacy. If they don’t get pushback, they will keep doing it.

And you will provide the anti-gun medical establishment with survey data that understates the level of gun ownership in America.

Crapgame: Telling a lie has no con, without a penalty. The pro is that there’s no conflict.

3) Refuse to answer

GNM: Well, as the saying goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.  Refusing to answer is tantamount to admitting gun ownership.  Which might result in any of the negative consequences for telling the truth, but will probably be more heated and might provide more excuses for a doctor to refuse service (if they make a questionnaire mandatory, for example).

Crapgame: By law, I don’t have to tell them. They might imply differently, but it isn’t law. Even if it was, I’m not telling them.

Without a legal requirement, the only con is that they may decide not to treat you.Refusing to answer shares the con with telling the truth — they may refuse treatment, report. The pro is that you may start a dialog with them about violating HIPAA. i.e. This information is not necessary to properly treat me for a medical condition, and I have no confidence in what they will do with the information. If they insist, I go doctor shopping.


Well, that is our take on the situation.  If you have something to add, leave a comment.  We all need to wrap our heads around this problem and figure out the best course of action for ourselves.  But let’s try to explore all of our options.

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One Response to “Nosy Doctors”

  1. Skinnedknuckles says:

    Well, my doctor knows I shoot because of the simple fact that I asked for a lead level blood test as part of my physical. I reload and shoot at an indoor range, so it seemed sensible. If he had given me grief, asking me how any guns I owned or other intrusive questions – which he did not – I would simply get a new doctor. My audiologist knows I shoot for the same reason – requesting a hearing test. I’m considering changing Ophthalmologists to one who was recommended because he knows how to help shooters. Patients still have the ability to choose their doctors and we should be more assertive than most of us actually are (my Dad was a doctor so I know they are human).