The latest idea for keeping guns out of the wrong hands is a project at UC Davis called “What You Can do.” And it recommends that doctors ask their patients, when appropriate, if they keep guns at home.
The idea is a result of Dr. Garen Wintemute’s research. Wintemute is an NRA member.
He’s also a researcher at UC Davis and emergency room doctor who spent 30 years researching the misuse of guns. He says it’s not a question he asks everybody.
“But it’s a question to be asked when it’s directly relevant. If a person is depressed and drinking. If I see a woman whose partner is violent.”
It may sound like an awkward subject in a doctor’s office.
“The vast majority of patients are entirely willing to have that question asked of them when they think it’s relevant.”
He also encourages more states to pass laws that allow police to disarm people on the testimony of family members who sense trouble. He says California’s law, has already prevented two mass shootings.
“It’s really simple. You cannot commit a gun crime if you don’t have a gun to commit it with. I’ve taken firearms from people in the emergency department.”
Dr. Garen Wintemute believes that by asking the right question, a doctor may well save not only the life of the person in front of him but the lives of people he’s never met.