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Coming to a state near you?:Want a gun? You'll need to see your doctor

Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
edited February 2002 in General Discussion
Want a gun? You'll need to see your doctor By Kelly A. Winget Eagle-Tribune Writer METHUEN -- People in Greater Lawrence who apply for a handgun license for the first time now need a letter from their doctor stating they are medically and psychologically fit. To police, this is one more tool to help them decide who should be permitted to carry a gun. But to gun owner advocates, it is one more step designed to make it "virtually impossible" for people to obtain a permit to own and carry a handgun. Police chiefs in Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and Methuen met months ago, at the request of Andover Police Chief Brian Pattullo, to make gun licensing rules uniform throughout the four communities. They agreed that applicants must get a note from a doctor stating there are "no medical or psychological issues" that would prevent the person from owning or operating a gun. Gun applicants would also be required to pass a gun safety course, undergo a complete background check, fill out the permit application and pay $35 for the permit. Methuen Police Chief Bruce A. MacDougall said the physician's letter helps police rule out "unsuitable" people from acquiring a gun license. He also said the physician would not be held responsible if the person became unfit to own a gun at a later date. He said he did not believe requiring a letter from a doctor had prevented anyone from obtaining a gun permit. "The four chiefs felt it is our duty to separate a suitable person from an unsuitable person," MacDougall said. "Just based on the application or spending a few minutes with a licensing officer doesn't give you a real feeling of the individual. Plus, we are not trained by our education or experience to look for the same things a medical person would." "We were looking for assistance and who better than the family physician?" MacDougall continued. "We are not looking for a medical or psychological evaluation."James L. Wallace, the legislative agent for the state group Gun Owners Action League, said this was the first time he had heard of a community requiring a letter from a doctor. He said he will fight to prevent other communities from adopting similar policies. "This will make it virtually impossible to get (a license to carry a firearms permit). If I was a doctor, I would not want to sign off on something like that," said Wallace, a Newburyport resident. "The chance that a gun owner would do something illegal is very slim, but who would want to put their whole career on the line? The police are passing off their responsibilities onto the citizens and unfortunately onto the physicians." Wallace said since the Brady Bill passed in 1998, the number of licensed gun owners in the state has dropped from 1.5 million in 1998 to less than 200,000 several months ago. He said the new doctor policy in Greater Lawrence is just another example of the "roadblocks police chiefs create" in regards to the issuing of gun permits. "The police chiefs think they are doing the community a service, but they really just torment gun owners," Wallace said.


  • idsman75idsman75 Member Posts: 14,524
    edited November -1
    This is certainly one of the hugest steps towards gun control that I could possibly imagine. From my experience, it is impossible to get a clean bill of health from a shrink. Anyone that has had any counseling (mental health, "family" counseling, divorce counseling, etc...) must provide a clean bill of health in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. It is a known fact among recruiters that this is impossible due to the liability factor taken on by the doctor. As soon as the doctor signs a clean bill of health, he is fair game for law suits and loss of license if the patient suddenly decides to go shoot up the local McDonald's. If you want to purchase a gun and are going to a shrink, he/she will never give a perfectly clean bill of health. The diagnosis will always be left open-ended with statements of the "possible existence" of this or that. Permit fees will ultimately be increased because the issuing authority will have to hire a doctor to translate the diagnosis and render an opinion to that issuing authority. This is a step that will have to be taken because the issuing authority will also be held liable if he can't speak "doctor-ese" and misinterprets an individual's diagnosis by his or her own personal shrink. What a nightmare!
  • MadjackMadjack Member Posts: 71 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    A bad law, for sure.....BUT, it seems like 1 million 300 thousand gun owners got smart and aren't following an illegal law requiring registration. A step in the right direction??
    Forget the Jones's.....I keep up with the Simpsons!
  • RedlegRedleg Member Posts: 417 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "He also said the physician would not be held responsible if the person became unfit to own a gun at a later date. "The doctor will not be held liable, but you can bet your * that the gun manufacturer will be. Total horse pucky.
  • offerorofferor Member Posts: 9,168
    edited November -1
    I can see gun controllers rubbing their hands together over the "General Practitioner Loophole." The argument will go something like, "a GP is not qualified to pronounce anyone psychologically fit." Then about the first time some disgruntled stalker wins a lawsuit over getting shot by a licensed gun owner and successfully collects from the doctor, doctors will suddenly be disinclined to participate because insurance companies will start asking doctors if they do gun permit approvals. Then the question will become, what standard psychological testing will a gun applicant take in the psychologist's office to satisfy the law, and how much will they charge for the service? And will they also be successfully held liable by some freak's parents who feels their little boy was snuffed by excessive force by the ex-wife whose door he had broken down with a ball bat when she shot him? It isn't that people with violent mental histories should be allowed a gun. That question is currently on the 4473. It's what gun controllers will try to do with the concept in politics and in court that would be criminal and unconstitutional. Anyway, how could a violent mental case not have a record in the instant check? Anyone who is a poor candidate for gun ownership due to demonstrated mental imbalance is bound to have hit the system already. Where do you draw the guidelines, or is each doctor going to set his own? At violence, psychosis and schizophrenia, or do you decide neurosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and insomnia are 'dangerous' too? Any law that automatically builds the potential for "loophole" protests by liberals is a bad law, because it's either a) vague or b) unenforceable or both. It also creates more "show me your papers" mentality for the anti-gun liberals (which I'm beginning to see as de facto fascists) to glom onto.
    "The 2nd Amendment is about defense, not hunting. Long live the gun shows, and reasonable access to FFLs. Join the NRA -- I'm a Life Member."
  • cpilericpileri Member Posts: 447 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    As soon as they make doctors completely immune to prosecution for any patients they sign-off on who flip out, I would do it.But not until then...
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