December 7, 2022

Physicians under pressure in conceal-weapon permit process

A new survey of North Carolina doctors has found that many are concerned about the increasing number of requests they are receiving to assess their patients’ competency to carry concealed weapons. In particular, a majority of physicians who responded to the survey said they were worried about the potential ethical consequences in the doctor-patient relationship if they participated in the concealed-weapon permit process.

A new survey of North Carolina doctors has found that many are concerned about the increasing number of requests they are receiving to assess their patients’ competency to carry concealed weapons.

In particular, a majority of physicians who responded to the survey said they were worried about the potential ethical consequences in the doctor-patient relationship if they participated in the concealed-weapon permit process. 

“This is not a small problem,” said Dr. Adam Goldstein, corresponding author of the study and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “More than 20 percent of the physicians we surveyed have been asked to sign competency permits for concealed weapons, and a majority of them do not feel they can adequately assess the physical or mental competence of their patients to safely have a concealed weapons permit.”

The study, published as a research letter in the June 29, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine Involved 600 physicians registered with the North Carolina Medical Board and in active practice in October 2013. Of the 600 surveys sent, 225 completed surveys were returned.

The survey found that physicians involved in concealed-weapon permitting sign off on permits almost 80 percent of the time, despite their uncertainty. “If physicians do not feel that they can adequately assess their patients’ competence yet are still giving approval for concealed-weapon permits, then there is something wrong with the system,” said John Pierson, a second year medical student and chief author of the study. 

“There are things we can do now to change this,” said Kathy Barnhouse, a professor of Family Medicine at UNC. “We discovered that the great majority of physicians feel that assessments for concealed weapons permits should best be done by providers specifically trained in making such assessments, presumably with standards to make assessments about mental and physical competence.”

Doctors pressured into singing off on concealed-weapon permits
Xavier Symons
https://www.bioedge.org/images/2008images/peer_review.jpg
Creative commons
conflict of interest
doctor-patient relationship
professional ethics