The Atlantic: Doctors Most Qualified to Decide Who's Fit to Carry a Gun

The Atlantic: Doctors Most Qualified to Decide Who's Fit to Carry a Gun

On June 30 The Atlantic ran a column focused on treating firearms as “a public health crisis” and allowing physicians “to determine who is fit to carry a gun.”  

According to The Atlantic, “all U.S. states allow citizens to carry certain concealed weapons in public for lawful purposes, with the exception of felons, persons proven to abuse controlled substances, individuals with a history of domestic violence, and those deemed mentally unstable or dangerous.”

Citing the caveat regarding “those deemed mentally unstable or dangerous,” The Atlantic explains that “some states may… require” a physician to sign off on a concealed carry permit application before one is issued. This points to an opportunity for physicians in all states on this matter, because “gun violence” is increasingly described as “a public health crisis.” 

After all, “the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and U.S. Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy are calling gun violence a public health crisis,” which provides a basis for viewing doctors “as a crucial link in the prevention chain.”

A survey of physician attitudes on this subject printed in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that 59 percent of responding physicians do not believe they can “accurately assess whether [their] patient is physically capable of safely using a concealed weapon.” In addition to this, 47 percent are not sure they can “adequately assess whether [their] patient is mentally capable of using a concealed weapon.”

Eighty-four percent of responding physicians say only physicians specially trained to assess possible concealed carry permit holders should be asked to judge a patient’s fitness in that arena.

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