Who could have predicted that requiring a Doctor’s note would remove a Constitutional right?

The Honolulu Police Department is requiring a doctor’s note that many doctors are not willing to write.

A former service member tells us he’s followed all of HPD’s rules, but he’s stuck in a policy deadlock because his insurer won’t comply.


If you think this wasn’t by design, you are naive.


The next time someone tells you that owning a firearm should require regular mental evaluations, show them this – “VA psychiatrist tells Facebook user to ‘off yourself’”

Do no harm

The Hippocratic Oath

Social media has been abuzz in the firearms community when someone screen captured a psychiatrist telling someone to kill themselves during a conversation about firearms.

I wish I was joking about this.  Dr Gregg Gorton isn’t just some mental health counselor.  He’s a psychiatrist.

What’s even worse is that he works for the Veteran’s Administration, dealing with veterans who’ve carried firearms in the worst possible situations.  Veterans are a large segment of gun owners, so how is his professional behavior impacted by these opinions he holds?

He issued an “apology” (if you could call it that) after people started getting word about what he’d done, but this raises a number of interesting points.

The antigun movement has repeatedly floated a talking point where they suggest that firearms owners should be required to pass regular mental health evaluations prior to owning a gun.  Ignoring the obvious problem that there aren’t enough qualified mental health professionals in the US to administer these tests, this is reminiscent of the Literacy Tests used to disenfranchise minorities during & after Reconstruction.  Such evaluations wouldn’t be performed for free either, so the historically literate should see the obvious similarity to Poll Taxes.

The biggest problem, however, isn’t that there aren’t enough doctors to do it, or that it will disproportionately prevent minorities from owning guns.  Instead, the largest issue is that it turns a right into a privilege subject to the whim of another.  The evaluating physician’s opinion will trump the rights of the individual.  Where this becomes particularly troublesome is when you have people like Dr. Gorton above, telling people they disagree with to kill themselves.

See, Psychiatrists aren’t just handed their medical degrees and told to start their practice.  After college, and then medical school (a 4 year process), psychiatrists then go through a 4 year residency program, then must pass licensing and board certification exams.  After all of this, and the years of specific training on dealing with mental health issues, you still get doctors like the above who can’t control themselves.  Or abusing their patients.

Despite this, however, they are not firearms experts. They are not firearms policy experts.  So when you have organizations like the American Psychiatric Association teaming up with other groups to call for stricter gun control such as “assault weapons bans” and “high capacity magazine bans” they are making an Appeal to Authority on a subject they have little to no knowledge.

Giving these same doctors the ability to be the final arbiter of firearms ownership for millions of Americans has a staggering potential for abuse.

Antigun propaganda of the day: Brave New Film’s “The NRA vs Pediatricians • The REAL NRA • Part 1 • BRAVE NEW FILMS”

Brave New Films, a left wing video production group that regularly posts “documentaries” on YouTube, posted the following video today about how the NRA is a bunch of mean meanies trying to harm medicine:

The problem is that it’s extremely misleading. The “Docs vs Glocks” law came about after numerous doctors were reported asking political questions in their practices, including one doctor refusing to continue treating the patient if they refused to answer questions about firearms in the home. Doctors don’t have the right to discriminate against their patients due to their political beliefs. Some patients were told it was a Medicaid requirement to inform the doctors about gun ownership, others had parents separated from their kids so the physician could ask without the parents consent or knowledge. It’s the height of hypocrisy for them to complain about being gagged from pushing politics when they refuse to provide basic checkups for a patient simply because they don’t want to be given a lecture about how guns are evil.

Could you imagine the outcry if a physician refused treatment because they refused to answer when asked if the parents were gay, or muslim, or handed out pamphlets about the dangers of kids being in single parent homes?

Accidental firearms deaths total under 600 per year across all age ranges. Accidental firearms fatalities for children under 14 number less than 150 yearly. This is per the CDC WISQARS statistics. Meanwhile, medical malpractice kills anywhere between 180,000 – 440,000 people EVERY YEAR.

The Brady campaign filed suit against this law and won an injunction; that injunction was vacated upon appeal.  The text of the Federal judges decision can be read here: http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/201214009.pdf

The majority judges’ opinion:

The Act seeks to protect patients’ privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians regarding firearms. The Act recognizes that when a patient enters a physician’s examination room, the patient is in a position of relative powerlessness. The patient must place his or her trust in the physician’s guidance, and submit to the physician’s authority. In order to protect patients, physicians have for millennia been subject to codes of conduct that define the practice of good medicine and affirm the responsibility physicians bear. In keeping with these traditional codes of conduct—which almost universally mandate respect for patient privacy—the Act simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters.

As such, we find that the Act is a legitimate regulation of professional conduct. The Act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care. It is uncontroversial that a state may police the boundaries of good medical practice by routinely subjecting physicians to malpractice liability or administrative discipline for all manner of activity that the state deems bad medicine, much of which necessarily involves physicians speaking to patients. Although the Act singles out a particular subset of physician activity as a trigger for discipline, this does little to alter the analysis. Any burden the Act places on physician speech is thus entirely incidental. Plaintiffs remain free—as physicians always have been—to assert their First Amendment rights as an affirmative defense in any actions brought against them. But we will not, by striking down the Act, effectively hand Plaintiffs a declaration that such a defense will be successful. Furthermore, when the Act is properly understood as a regulation of physician conduct intended to protect patient privacy and curtail abuses of the physician-patient relationship, it becomes readily apparent from the language of the Act the type of conduct the Act prohibits. Accordingly, we reverse the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs, and vacate the injunction against enforcement of the Act.

This video is propaganda designed to allow antigun organizations to let antigun doctors to try to proselytize at their practice. This isn’t about free speech, it’s about anti gun special interests pushing politics in the place of medical care, and this has been upheld repeatedly on appeal. There’s a reason why the Brady campaign has been the lead on lawsuits fighting this legislation.

The AAP in particular is not “neutral” in this argument – they believe that no one should own a gun, and that standard sporting rifles should be banned. – In fact they go so far as to say “NEVER” have a gun in your home (and they capitalized the never)