As you know if you have been reading this blog, I am in school to earn my Masters Degree and become a Physician Assistant. We were recently in a class on how to conduct an exam, and were talking about the questions that we are required to ask a patient. One of the questions that they said we are required to ask is whether or not they own a gun, and whether or not that gun is kept in a secure location. Then we should use this as an opportunity to talk to them about the dangers of having a firearm in the home. I spoke up and said that I did not feel like that was a valid medical question, and the answer that I got was that this was about safety.

I then pointed out that we shouldn’t stop there. After all, if this is about safety, why not ask them if they are gay, and of so, lecture them on the dangers of homosexual activity? Of course, the reaction I got was how inappropriate that was. I pointed out that more people die each year from AIDS than are murdered by firearms.

I then asked if I would be penalized in any way for refusing to participate in a politically charged topic like this. They relented, and I will not be penalized in any way for refusing to ask that question.


Borepatch · February 3, 2012 at 2:10 am

Good for you.

Irish · February 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Good Job!!

Bob S. · February 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Glad you think asking intrusive unrelated questions are inappropriate.

Keep up the good work, maybe they'll come around eventually

Anonymous · February 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

School 'em!

Pat St. Jean · February 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Swimming pools are another good one to bring up, since they kill more people than guns as well. And as a bonus, don't have same kind of stigma associated with asking about them as things like sexual orientation do…

Sean D Sorrentino · February 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I think you should be penalized. You could, when told yes, invite them to your blogmeet/range day. If told no, you could ask them how they plan on defending themselves or their children. Did they plan on using harsh language?

Or you could do it your way and mind your own business. I guess. There has to be at least one person in the US who does that.

Jehu · February 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Asking questions like that on a habitual basis has done a lot to alienate a lot of 2nd amendment supporters from the medical establishment as a whole. For instance, hospitals MIGHT have been on my charitable contribution list but for the fact that they've angered me by questioning my wife while in diminished capacity (she'd just given birth) about whether there were guns in our home. I don't think physicians as a whole realize how much good will they piss away when they do this.

Larry · February 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

A long time ago when my youngest was but a wee toddler I had a doc ask me if I was teaching him about guns and knives (this was in rural Virginia). I told the doc he was a little short to hold the Mosin but he was hell with throwing stars.
When the inevitable blank look came up I told him it was none of his ____ing business what I had in my house and that if he could kindly just stick to medical questions things would go so much better for him in this area of the country. Never had a problem with him after that.

Anonymous · February 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm

It would be interesting to ask the average Doctor as to how many patients he has treated who ever had gunshot wounds from guns in their home. Yes, I realize they would go to the ER first, but I would bet most Doctors don't even know someone with such an injury.
Now, ask them how many patients they have who have gotten a severe injury from a trampoline, or competitive cheerleading, and my guess is that more Docs would be familiar with them.

TJIC · February 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm


SiGraybeard · February 4, 2012 at 12:46 am


I wanted to email you separately, but don't see a link or address: I've added you to my list of fellow Florida gun bloggers.

Let me know if you'd like to be removed. My address in the right sidebar.

Phillip · February 4, 2012 at 3:28 am

Not only does my primary care physician know that I own and carry guns, but I get into discussions with his staff about their favorite carry weapons. The ones that aren't licensed ask me questions about how to get their CCW.

I remember being nervous the first time Doc wanted to probe my stomach while I was carrying, but he didn't even flinch.

Anonymous · February 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

WAIT, WAIT, WAIT…..required!?!??!?! You are required to ask that question?!?!?!
What organization is forcing you to do that!?!?!? What happens if you don't? Will you get dinged in your evaluation?
I thought the doctor/patient relationship was secure and didn't include a third partner like a meddlesome liberal group.

(a nurse in a large midwestern health group)

Divemedic · February 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

@ Steve: We are in school, and are being evaluated by our professors and preceptors on our skills, including history taking and physical exams. We are required to do those skills in a certain way in order to pass the class.

wolfwalker · February 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Steve: In 1999, several large 'industry-standard' doctors' groups like the AMA joined the liberal gun-control group Doctors Against Handgun Injury in a program that would have doctors ask patients whether they owned any guns, and if the answer was yes, lecture them about gun safety and the dangers of guns in the home. There were dark hints that they would collect statistics and possibly even individual information on gun ownership based on these questions and keep that data to give to the government, but I can't find any confirmation of that.

Anonymous · February 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

AHA!!!!! Required by the teaching institution….so as to innoculate you and to make you numb to the reality of what you are asking.


Oh my…… my first answer was written in a caffeine deficient state of mind and now…overload!!

Dive Medic, kudos to you for going back to school for your PA degree. I went back to school when I was 44 for my ADN degree. Best thing I ever did…other then marry my wife!
I've entertained the idea of going back for my Nurse Practioners degree. But I'm 56 now and I really, really don't want to sit in a class with some 20 year old whining about how hard her life is.
Oh well, maybe someday I'll get the itch to study and I'll go back. Till then, GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO STUDY!!!!!


Anonymous · February 5, 2012 at 2:35 am

As a practicing Physician Assistant, that question is on most Well Child exam forms favored by the State and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I asked about appropriate safety for cleaning chemicals, trampolines, shaken baby syndrome, car seats, booster seats, etc.

I also asked if proper safety procedures are followed for fire safety, pool safety if they have one, and firearms if they have them in the home. I don't ask IF they do, I just let them answer if they wish to do so.

I then ask if they have any questions about any safety issues, and you would be surprised how many people have asked at what age it might be appropriate to start teaching their kids appropriate firearms rules and at what age it would be safe to let them shoot a firearm. Some even ask about whether starting with a .22 is better than starting with a BB or pellet gun.

It's all in the context of HOW you ask the questions and WHY you ask them.

If its really about safety, then there are good ways to help parents learn about safety.

Anonymous · February 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

@ Steve, the AVERAGE Age in my PA class was 38, the oldest was 67, the youngest was 24, in a class of 60+ students.

I was younger at 35. The oldest student had been a nurse for 12 years when I was born!

Comments are closed.