Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Does Barack Obama Want To Turn Doctors Into Snitches In The Name Of Gun Control Via Undemocratic Executive Order?

On January 16th, 2013, President Barack Obama introduced his highly-ballyhooed comprehensive gun control proposal that is touted to make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and will give law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools to help reduce gun violence, and keep children safe. And already a firestorm of criticism is surfacing over it, primarily from Second Amendment supporters. Obama made sure he had some poster children present in order to tug at the heartstrings and sucker more people in supporting his proposals.

-- Read the text of Obama's speech HERE.

-- List of the 23 executive orders signed by Obama HERE.

-- Read Obama's full 15-page plan HERE.

The four critical attributes to Obama's 15-page plan:

1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;
3. Making schools safer;
4. Increasing access to mental health services.

Item 1 includes requiring background checks for all gun sales and strengthening the background check system. Part of strengthening the background check system includes the following:

Address unnecessary legal barriers that prevent states from reporting information about those prohibited from having guns: Some states have cited concerns about restrictions under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as a reason not to share relevant information on people prohibited from gun ownership for mental health reasons. The Administration will begin the regulatory process to remove any needless barriers, starting by gathering information about the scope and extent of the problem.

Item 2 includes a call to end the freeze on gun violence research. Part of this process includes the following:

Conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between video games, media images, and violence: The President is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. It is based on legal analysis that concludes such research is not prohibited by any appropriations language. The CDC will start immediately by assessing existing strategies for preventing gun violence and identifying the most pressing research questions, with the greatest potential public health impact. And the Administration is calling on Congress to provide $10 million for the CDC to conduct further research, including investigating the relationship between video games, media images, and violence.

Item 2 also calls for preserving the rights of health care providers to protect their patients and communities from from gun violence. This may be the most intrusive and invasive part of the plan:

Clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence: Doctors and other mental health professionals play an important role in protecting the safety of their patients and the broader community by reporting direct and credible threats of violence to the authorities. But there is public confusion about whether federal law prohibits such reports about threats of violence. The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits these reports in any way.

Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety: Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home. Some have incorrectly claimed that language in the Affordable Care Act prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns and gun safety. Medical groups also continue to fight against state laws attempting to ban doctors from asking these questions. The Administration will issue guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms.

It is these cited parts that are raising concerns. Linking Obamacare and the process of gathering information, along with suggesting that a doctor has an obligation to get involved in gun control politics, has triggered fears that doctors will be tasked to act as snitches in the name of gun control and so-called "child safety" (much tyranny has already been implemented in the name of "child safety"). The possibility exists that a doctor will ask a patient if he has any guns at home, and, if so, how many and what type. If the patient answers affirmatively, the doctor could report this information to authorities, which could serve as a pretext for the revocation of CCW permits or even outright gun confiscation.

One member of the U.S. House is already raising a red flag. Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who was a family physician before coming to Congress in 2009, argued on January 16th that doctors have no right to ask patients about their status as gun owners. Specifically, Fleming said "He's trying to press doctors into government service by pushing them to ask patients, even child patients, if there are guns in their home. After more than thirty years of operating a family practice, I can tell you it should not be the business of a family physician to take inventory of the guns in a patient's home." Fleming maintains there are already adequate laws to ensure that doctors alert law enforcement to criminal activities that they become aware of in the course of their practice. One of those areas involves child abuse, where doctors are charged with the responsibility to report suspected child abuse to authorities.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is troubled by Obama's abuse of executive power, saying “Making matters worse is that President Obama is again abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress. President Obama’s frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn’t give him license to ignore the Constitution.”

Strong public reaction against using doctors as snitches is recorded on Free Republic and on Stormfront. Here's a particularly pertinent comment posted on The Hill:

bask_score Testicules • 41 minutes ago (The Hill)
They just provided a powerful disincentive for people who might be in need of treatment for a psychological problem from seeking it.

Further, your time in the doctor's office is limited. It's already taken up by discussion of your symptoms and physical issues. The doctor has limited time to figure out the diagnosis while analyzing all your symptoms, which can take up the whole appointment, and now he has to keep track of whether you've got a gun.

The time and effort you lose on addressing the medical issue due to this mandate could make you sicker in the long run.

This is why progressives are always so hot to gain centralized control over the medical and health system. Through that, they can control just about everything else. See Reagan's speech on socialized medicine in a 1961 speech.

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