Following the Las Vegas Massacre, Dr. Faren Wintemute, the Director of UC Davis' Violence Prevention Center, has called on physicians across the nation to play a role in curbing gun violence.
According to Wintemute, his colleagues should make a pledge to ask patients about firearms in the home and gun safety, as he detailed in the Annals of Internal Medicine Medical Journal.
Behind the Argument
“If I, as a clinician, want to do the best I can to stop patients from dying from gunshot wounds, I have to keep them from getting shot in the first place," Wintemute told KOVR-TV.
In Wintemute's eyes, doctors need to do everything in their power to make sure those who are suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies, are abusing drugs or have a history of mental illness have limited access to firearms.
“What I expect to start hearing back is you know I asked the question, and it was really tough, but I saved a life today by asking about firearms in the home," Wintemute said.
In various states, including California, doctors can demand a patient have a psychiatric evaluation, which then prohibits a patient from possessing firearms.
So far, 160 physicians have taken Wintemute's pledge to ask about firearms. More are expected to take the pledge, KOVR reported.
One thing Wintemute doesn't take into account? How truthful people are.
Wintemute makes a lot of assumptions in his argument. He makes the assumption that if he asks his patient a question about guns that they will willingly hand over that private information. Who is to say that a patient is willing to have that conversation with their physician? I know I'm not.
Instead of trying to use their medical degrees to try and influence public policy, doctors like Wintemute need to focus on treating their patients for everyday problems, like high cholesterol or the flu.
Although Dr. Wintemute's assertions seem great in theory, they're horrible in practice. Based on everything Wintemute has said, I should not be allowed to own a firearm. I was diagnosed with PTSD after a violent sexual assault in college. I suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of my attack and take meds to help cope.
And guess what? I'm one of many, many women who have the same side effects.
Look at Kimberly Corban. She, too, was also diagnosed with PTSD after being raped and owns a firearm for self-defense. Should women like us — who were unarmed when our attacks took place — be forced to defend ourselves without the use of a gun?