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Personal risk everywhere, should you increase it?

Friday, January 25, 2013

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Freedom comes with responsibility.

Responsibility comes with risk and late last year there were some remarkable reactions to information reported during a public meeting of a private group in Marshall County.

A Lewisburg man complained that his wife's medical exam included a doctor's questionnaire asking if she had guns and how they are stored, locked, loaded and where bullets are kept.

That was interpreted as an example of the ever increasing - creeping forward - nanny state, and a threat to Second Amendment rights.

People wanted to know more. One reply: It's all over the Internet. Some thought the government wanted to know who has guns.

One man said: Lie! Tell them you don't have any. How will they know?

Clever enough. Here's what the doctor explained.

A wellness questionnaire is optional. Federal funding won't be withheld from doctors conducting medical exams of people who refuse to answer the questions.

Some patients have refused to answer the questionnaire which is based on guidelines from a government agency.

Other questions include whether patients have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. Do they smoke, wear seatbelts, drink alcohol, exercise, feel safe, have pain, family support, and feel emotionally upset?

These are health and safety issues. It's logical to ask about guns or other weapons.

"I wouldn't leave my knives laying around the house if I thought my husband was going to kill me," the doctor said, providing one example.

Others include a security guard's gun discharging at home where the bullet went through a wall hitting one of his triplet grandchildren in the head; a nurse's brother who died of a gunshot wound suffered while cleaning his gun; and a man who accidentally shot himself in the spleen and died.

There's a law enforcement officer whose career changed after his gun fell to the floor, discharged and crippled him for life.

Now comes a petition to end a private business' rule against firearms in Cool Springs Galleria.

Some folks may feel safer by going armed. If there's a bet, the safe money is on a continuation of the current rule as set by the property owner. We've already seen property owners' rights trumping employees wanting to have their deer-hunting rifle in the truck so they can go to the woods after work.

As for the man with a Glock in the glove compartment: is there really such a threat out there to justify that when his car is parked on his employer's parking lot?

Back to the doctor who conducted a wellness screening to assess a patient's circumstances: he asks, "How many people do you know who have successfully defended themselves with a gun?"

Every once in a while, there's a story - we'd be pleased to write more - about a storeowner who pulled a gun on a bandit and won. Most of the time, convenience store clerks, like bank tellers, are told to just give them the money.

Gun ownership could become an issue if a patient becomes emotional and violent, the doctor said.

Freedom comes with responsibility. So does longevity.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.