The Greensboro News & Record tells it like it is this morning in a polite but firm editorial regarding the controversial House bill to further liberalize North Carolina gun laws. The editorial is entitled “Doctors and guns” and it rightfully labels the proposal to gag doctors who would ask their patients about firearms in their homes an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment:
“Health and safety are their business. A patient can exhibit signs indicating a risk for suicide or aggression without explicitly expressing a desire to harm himself or others. While the bill does not directly prohibit doctors from asking about a patient’s access to guns, it prevents them from informing police. Imagine a psychiatrist examining someone like Seung-Hui Cho, the 2007 Virginia Tech mass-murderer, finding him in a troubled state of mind, learning he has firearms, but being barred from telling police because of Cho’s right to ‘firearms privacy.’
Because of physicians’ free-speech rights, this measure should not survive a legal challenge. But it demonstrates how completely many state legislators have surrendered to the gun mania afflicting the country.”
The editorial concludes this way:
“The bill has other unsound provisions. It would:
• Weaken criminal background checks.
• Further restrict the ability of local governments to regulate gun sales.
• Clarify that concealed carry permit holders could keep firearms inside their vehicles on private property, even if the property owners otherwise prohibit firearms on their premises.
• Prohibit a local government that enacts a noise ordinance from applying the ordinance to an existing shooting range.
In the last four years, North Carolina already has enacted many permissive gun laws. There haven’t been terrible consequences as a result, but further loosening of laws is unwarranted.
Guns are a part of our culture, for better and for worse. Gun ownership has never been threatened in North Carolina. But guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. Physicians can help determine whose hands.”