Should Doctors Ask About Gun Ownership? - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Should Doctors Ask About Gun Ownership?

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by Shannon Royster

NASHVILLE,  Tenn. - Nashville Sporting Arms owner Chris Tenpenny is one of many who has a problem with President Obama's gun control plan. 

"Should doctor's have the right when I go for a check up to ask me if I've got any guns in my house no I don't think that's none of their business," said Tenpenny.

A few lines in the President's plan to address protecting the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety.  That's because many of the shooters in recent mass shootings have had some type of mental illness. 

Michael McSurdy of Children and Family Services said people are upset about the language but the mandate has always been there on medical and mental health professionals.  "The majority of folks who see a doctor or counselor are not there because they have suicidal or homicidal ideation but the folks who do come in and voice that it will be a question," said McSurdy.

He said it's an important question that could save lives.  "We often know that asking those questions opens the door to a conversation that can really change the decision that somebody makes," said McSurdy.

Yet some lawmakers believe the President is enlisting doctors in a campaign against guns.  Tenpenny says the president needs to look into making it more difficult for the mentally ill to buy guns.  While McSurdy says it starts with catching signs of mental illness early and allowing your doctor the right to ask if you have a gun in your home. 

"I would say family of other people who are killed by violence would wish that question could be asked too and I often wonder the people who commit those acts if they wish that they could've been asked because maybe something could've been different," he said.

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