Sunday, February 24, 2013

Psychiatrists Don't Certify People to Use Guns.



Legislation is being proposed  in Maryland --- and I assume in other states as well --  that would require patients who have have had psychiatric hospitalizations to get a psychiatrist to certify that they are safe to own a gun if they want to apply for a gun permit.

Psychiatrists don't certify that people are safe to own guns.

That's it. End of sentence.  The states legislators may have decided that this is part of our training or our job description or that this should be our role.  Can you imagine anyone in any career ever authorizing that anyone is safe to own a gun?  Sign your name to that with the implied promise  that any person won't get too angry, won't get too depressed, won't feel too threatened, won't use the weapon appropriately (for example, to shoot an intruder) but when less force might have sufficed.  Can you even begin to imagine the liability issues?  Or worse, the guilt when the patient certified as "safe to own a gun" then harms himself or someone else?  Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental illness.  They don't certify that people are safe to own guns.

We should just say No, we don't do that.