Physicians Should be on Front Lines of Gun-Safety Education NOT Rallying Against Gun Ownership

Dr. Gregory Engel of Seattle, Washington sticks to the facts when it comes to guns, unlike several medical organizations that have adopted the standard anti-gun rhetoric of the left.

When interviewed by NPR news about his recent talk to a freshman health class at Roosevelt High School in north Seattle, he told reporters he steered away from the political side of the debated over guns and focused on safety tips and information.

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) supports doctors like Engel who refuse to be made informants for progressive politicians. DRGO’s physician are listening to what many people see as the unprofessional behavior of some physicians.

Fueled by DRGO and physicians like Engel some states, like Florida, have passed legislation to prevent medical professionals from abusing their patients’ trust by promoting a political agenda such as gun control.

DRGO is reacting to the concerted efforts of both The American College of Physicians (ACP) and The American Medical Association (AMA) to offer their weight in campaigns against gun ownership. Rather offer medical advice, both groups have advised their member physicians to pressure patients to give up their guns.

Engel told NPR that he realizes guns can be an emotional topic. He also believes that offering information to the public that focuses on facts rather emotionally charged rhetoric is what a physician should focus on. He said, “Doctors–I think we have a little cachet. We put the white coat on, I think we can say, `Look, this is about health. This is about health in Arkansas as well as in Washington. People are dying everywhere. And we all have a stake in safety.’”

He warns the students that even though mass shootings dominate the headlines, suicides account for the great majority of gun deaths in the United States. He noted, “Of all those who attempt suicide, nine percent die. But when you talk about people attempting suicide with a gun, 85 percent of those people die… I’m an emergency room physician and I have never treated a patient who comes in with a suicide attempt from a gun. They always go straight to the morgue.

An important point because suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 t0 24 in Washington State.

Dr. Timothy Wheeler, founder, and former director for DRGO is a retired hand and neck surgeon. He offers options to patients on how they should respond to their physician should they make guns a part of their patient profile. These are options include:

  1. Politely yet firmly refuse to answer the doctor’s question or the health plan’s questionnaire item about guns.
  2. If the gun question appears on your health plan’s routine health assessment questionnaire, file a formal written complaint with the health plan.
  3. If the health plan responds with the excuse that their questions about your guns are standard medical practice that they must follow, you can take the complaint to the next step—file a written complaint with your state agency that regulates health plans.
  4. If your doctor persists in asking intrusive questions about guns in your home, you can also file a complaint specifically against him or her with your health plan.
  5. Internet consumer rating sites have created another way doctors can be publicly rated based on service, attitude, and behavior. Some commonly used rating sites are,,, and RateMDs.
  6. If the doctor’s conduct is offensive, submit a complaint to the doctor’s licensing board.
  7. You can have a powerful impact on a doctor’s conduct by reporting the doctor. You have the right to submit a complaint to the doctor’s licensing board.

Number 7 made the list because of cases like the one in Florida in 2010 when Amber Ullman took her infant daughter in to the pediatrician for a routine checkup. Following standard AAP policy, the doctor asked her whether she had a gun in her home. When Mrs. Ullman refused to answer on the grounds of privacy invasion, her doctor terminated the mother and daughter from his practice.

The pediatrician’s abrupt dismissal of the mother and her baby from his practice touched a raw nerve in the state of Florida. In response, the Legislature passed the Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act.

Those who stand by the 2nd Amendment should laud actions like those by Dr. Engle and Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. Americans needs more influencers who refuse to be bullied by political agendas.

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20 Responses

  1. Wow! I’ve never been approached like this by a medical professional before. It makes me thankful & proud to be a Veteran of our American armed forces. I receive all of my extensive medical care through the VA system, where all have had some contact with firearms – I believe this questioning would never fly with veterans!

    1. If you have to see someone in mental health for whatever reason, one of their standard questions is, ” do you have a gun in the house “. The wording of the question is important. If you have more than one, you could honestly say No. I did tell this person that they are not allowed to ask that question in Florida, her answer was that it is a requirement of the VA.

    2. I am also a vet and receive most of my treatment at VA facilities. I am routinely asked the question, so I give different/conflicting answers each time. I can go from having enough firepower to level a small army, to adamantly opposing firearms and their use. Most of the docs are pro-gun, but a few are anti. It’s fun to see their reactions (especially the shrinks)!

  2. Any doctor ask that question will be sue. The doctor is for medical reason not my private life. Sick of big government. Anyone in government who put this out there needs to be sued and arrested. So many Muslim doctors out there they want all Americans with out guns, Obama plan to disarm Americans so the world order can take over. This is one person who will fight to the end to keep my rights and freedoms. Better wake up America because the traitors of America are trying to take over with Obama and Hillary and the nazi party.

    1. I agree this is intrusive, and I have no intention of answering such a question from my Doctor, but your response is rambling and bizarre.

      #1, Muslims have nothing to do with this, it’s the AMA. #2, Nazis have nothing to do with this, it’s the AMA. And #3, Obama isn’t President anymore, and hasn’t been for some time.

  3. The author gives good advice. Liberals get their way by intimidation. Do what we want or we will boycott / sit in / assault / publicly shame / sue / etc.

    Conservatives need to push back, not only on second amendment but in many other areas. Counter boycott, complaints to regulatory agencies, etc.

  4. 1. If Doctors were really interested in the unnecessary deaths in America, they would be anti-abortion.
    2. The USA was founded on Christian values, and the further away from those values that we stray, the worse things get.
    3. Law abiding citizens should not be penalized for the actions of criminals.
    4. I was raised in a Christian home and grew up with guns, never once did I or any of my friends ever think about shooting up a school, we were always in church on Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.
    5. The anti-Christian leftist communist democrats are forcing evil values on America, and it has to stop.

  5. If my Dr. wants to question me about gun ownership, they must first allow me to question their sexual partners about their sex habits lol

  6. I have lived many years and never thought the people in this country would turn to communism. The schools have been one of the problems and do not tell and or appreciate the way the country began.We were informed by the communists in the 50’s that we would end up as a communist country.
    The deep state is a world communist plot and it soon ,if not stopped,will control everything. This is a fact that the majority of people refuse to believe.
    Maybe the Bible is true.

  7. One of the reasons for asking this question is to establish a list of those who have guns. The next step is to establish your mental state, whereby the doctor says your are unstable, then the local law enforcement and/or government can come in and confiscate your weapons and it is all legal.

  8. If my doctor asks me, I will say: I support, endorse and practice my 1st and 2nd Amendments Rights….and the 4th Amendment prevents you from asking questions about what is in my house or in my possession. End of story.

    1. You made a HUGE mistake in your comment. NEVER admit to someone who is attempting to violate your 4th amendment rights regarding other rights.
      Simply state that their question is a violation of 4th amendment.
      Then ask if they truly wish to “go down this road further”.

      The next step is to go straight to your state medical licensing board and file a complaint as well as to your medical insurance to file a complaint. State ONLY that the Doctor has attempted to violate your 4th amendment rights by asking you to answer non-medically related questions regarding your beliefs and excercise of other constitutional right to bear arms. Then finally file a formal complaint with the state department of medical insurance as well.

      lastly, find a new doctor and make sure that you DO go online give extreme negative ratings for that practitioner in ALL relevant media.

      Do not go through steps, The moment this happens you need to make this a nuclear option response. Make sure to end the license and or practice of the medical practitioner.

  9. I agree with Randall, 100%…..The medical profession best stay with medical practice and leave the constitution out of it….

  10. This actually happened to me about 12 years ago,,, I looked right at him and said , Ya, I got lots of guns, long guns , pistols, semi auto’s, why do you ask, I said.. the clown didn’t know what to say, I got up & walked out,, he was a emergency room doctor, never saw him there again…

    1. Perfect response! I’ll do that myself next time. Also mention that 90-100 million other Americans have guns, and what’s their point?

  11. Tell your doctor to sit down at their computer and do a search for “number of times guns stop crimes and save lives every year” (minus the quotes), and inform him/her that doing so will quickly reveal that while the roughly 34,000 a year figure used for “gun related deaths” counts SUICIDES in order to inflate that total, the numbers of times that people effectively use guns to stop crimes and save lives is somewhere between 500,000 to 3 MILLION times, every single year. Orders of magnitude of difference, with the good far outweighing the bad.

    Trying to reduce that inflated 34K figure (which, again, counts SUICIDES), by somehow magically achieving the impossible task of getting rid of all guns, would then leave some 500,000 to 3 MILLION cases a year where people would be left defenseless, causing far more harm, by orders of magnitude, than by simply NOT acting as a Domestic Enemy of the U.S. Constitution by trying to deprive people of their fundamental and constitutionally enumerated rights.

    Your doctor might not be so bad if you can reason with him/her, and if you cannot, well, you already saw the 7 basic options suggested in the above article.

  12. I have two standard answers that should stop the inquiry immediately: 1. Do you? 2. If you’ll excuse me for not answering, I’ll forgive you for asking.

    While I’ve never been asked directly, on occasion during the course of conversation I’ve convinced a few of my health care professionals to join Arizona’s premier pro-gun lobbying organization.

  13. You can say “NO”.You are not under oath……….

  14. If confronted with that question from my doctor, I would first demand he answer a question for me. The question would be, have you ever and would you still, perform the abortion of an unborn child? If the Dr answered, I would remind that the question is irrelevant to my current treatment, and the “gun” question is irrelevant too.

  15. I would tell the dr that doctors are more dangerous than guns. abortions are the biggest cause of death in this country and doctors perform those murders.

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