New Bill Would Allow Doctors to Ask About Gun Ownership

photo from spacecoastdaily.

A bill introduced in the House this week would free physicians to ask patients about gun ownership as part of a measure designed to expand government-funded research into gun violence, according to guns.com.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), who authored the bill and represents the Silicon Valley area, says the proposal would explore the links between gun ownership and gun violence, the story says.

"In Silicon Valley, we recognize the power of research," said Honda in a statement. "My Gun Violence Research Act seeks to bring this data-driven approach to the public sphere so that we may develop a more pointed strategy to understand and ultimately better address the public health crisis of gun violence."

The entirety of Honda's four-page bill, officially dubbed H.R. 3926 and called the Gun Violence Research Act by Honda, is [here as a PDF](http://www.guns.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/288511873-Congressman-Honda-s-Action-to-Stop-Gun-Violence.pdf at congress.gov. https://www.congress.gov).

It specifically states it's not advocating gun control.

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to—authorize the Secretary to give assistance, make grants, or enter into cooperative agreements or contracts for the purpose of advocating or promoting gun control; or permit a recipient of any assistance, arrant, cooperative agreement, or contract under this section to use such assistance, grant, agreement or contract for the purpose of advocating or promoting gun control."

The bill also calls for an expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System.

The story states: "Federal research of gun violence as a health care issue had been largely defunded for 17 years until President Obama's January 2013 executive order partially restored it. This order led to the National Institutes of Public Health publicly requesting research project on the topic for funding consideration."

Guns.com points out that the Centers for Disease Control looked into gun violence as part of a White House executive order after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It found that defensive gun use was common, while mass shooting were not, according to the story. It was also discovered that when guns are used in self-defense, the victims consistently have lower injury rates than those who are unarmed, even compared with those who used other forms of self-defense.

"It is my hope that by conducting research into the causes of gun violence, we can better identify warning signs, address any loopholes in oversight, and get people who are prone to gun violence the assistance they need," Honda said in the story.

Another component of the bill would allow health care workers to ask patients about gun ownership, possession, use and storage of firearms in their home.

The story says, "Doctors could also speak to their patients about gun safety and be encourage to report what they deem to be threats of violence to authorities."

The debate over whether or not doctors should be allowed to ask such things has been well fought in Florida in the infamous "Docs vs. Glocks" case.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.