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Rhode Island Bar Journal Article

"Physicians and Firearms: Finding a Duty to Discuss,"

Posted by Keith G. Langer | Mar 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Massachusetts attorney Elisabeth Ryan wrote the above-entitled article for the Northeastern School of Law journal. Doctors are as qualified by their training to advise us about firearms as lawyers are qualified to advise doctors how to perform surgery.

Specifically, the idea of your doctor having a "duty to discuss" your Second Amendment rights and choices thereunder, and to question you and your children about it - as is now done, complete with questions on intake forms - is inappropriate. Consider this:

What "articulated duty" would there be for physicians to intermeddle in their patients' choice to exercise a fundamental freedom?

How are physicians even qualified to discuss firearms?

Do physicians have an "articulated duty" to lecture patients about other lifestyle choices, such as skiing, riding motorcycles, or mountain climbing? Do physicians presume to inquire about pools or trampolines?

In 2015, the CDC reported 35,369 deaths from motor vehicle accidents, versus 505 deaths from the accidental discharge of firearms. Yet it is the latter which doctors are now to have an "articulated duty" to lecture us on. With what qualifications to do so?

Treating firearms, mere inert tools, as active vectors of contagion or other medical issue, is disingenuous. Guns are not toxins or bacteria; still less a manifestation of disease. The CDC has no legitimate role to play in this matter, other than including firearms when ranking all specific causes of death.

Doctors interjecting themselves into the non-medical aspects of their patients' lives by creating an "articulated duty" is another manifestation of the politicization of the medical profession. Simply put, this is outside the scope of the doctor's role.

Physicians are becoming tools of anti-gun rights elements; particularly pediatricians, who interrogate children about whether their parents own guns. Questions regarding gun ownership are on even many GP intake forms.

The military would call this "mission creep." The term for such intrusions by a physician is "boundary violation." It should be treated accordingly.

About the Author

Keith G. Langer

Keith G. Langer, Attorney at Law SERVING NORFOLK COUNTY, MA, AND SURROUNDING AREAS Solo practitioner concentrating in civil litigation, collections, family law and administrative law, particularly firearms licensing.Professional Qualifications: One of the longest-serving member of the Firear...


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