Physicians Regulate Guns in N.C.
Written by Editor   
Thursday, June 19, 2014 06:49 AM

Physicians in North Carolina have de facto gun regulators, as applicants for concealed carry permits must obtain physician-signed waivers even though physicians have never been trained in assessing this type of competency.  The interesting thing is in North Carolina physicians were neither consulted, nor warned, about this new requirement.

A survey they sent out to physicians living in North Carolina  targeted three specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, and psychiatrists, but it is possible for physicians in any specialty to be asked to sign the form.

Twenty-one percent of the physicians who responded said that in the past year they had been asked by a patient to sign a competency permit for a concealed weapons permit. Goldstein and colleagues wrote that the majority of the responders had been asked by more than three patients to sign permits during this time frame. This could translate into up to 1,400 physicians in North Carolina alone who would have been involved with this at some point and time.  79% did sign off on the competency paperwork for their patients, 84% reported they felt this type of assessment should be completed by physicians with specific training in making these often nuanced assessments.  "A weapon is not something that's been part of our medical training, so how are we able to make those assessments?"

With no standards in existence it's very difficult to know with confidence that these forms give the due weight they should before signing off on someone's competency to carry a concealed weapon.  What about compensation?  And what about liability? What happens to a physician who signed a waiver for a person who then uses the concealed gun to shoot another person?