Letter to the Editor: Healthcare and the NRA

To the Editor:

I recently have learned how much influence the NRA (National Rifle Association) has on the medical field. I am not completely convinced that everything they have implemented is in everyone’s best interest. The NRA, as well as all its members, are obviously strong advocates for our right to bear arms, as am I. However, they have influenced laws in such a way that physicians are no longer allowed to question whether there are any firearms in the homes of their patients. I think that this should be added to the list of questions that are asked.

If this question were to be asked and there were guns located in homes with children, information could be shared that could educate people on gun safety. A lot of people don’t know how to teach their children safety with firearms because they don’t know how to take care of guns themselves. Children, if they are residing in a home that contains firearms, should be fully aware and should be taught firearm safety. If a parent doesn’t understand how to explain it to them and just hides them in the house, there is a potential risk that a child is going to think it is a toy and the outcome is hardly ever good.

The NRA’s reasoning as far as I can tell must have to do with insurance rates increasing. Someone who has firearms in their home should not be penalized. Most of the people I know that have guns in their homes are avid hunters. Others have them for the safety of their families. Having firearms in your home doesn’t necessarily increases the risk that someone can get hurt. Riding motorcycles or snow skiing are risky behaviors, should they be scrutinized as well? Is it a proven fact that because firearms are in a home that they are more likely to be used improperly and cause trauma that wouldn’t have been there without them?

I believe that if physicians are aware that their patients own guns, they can educate their patients on firearm safety as well as storage of firearms. They could also hand out information on how to educate children of different ages on the importance of firearm safety. I know this is a touchy subject and I appreciate any response and opinions because I am a parent and I would like to know how other parents feel about having firearms in their home.

Tara Shrader, Community Health Nursing