Doctors Can Help Elderly Persons Decide When to Dispose of Guns

Posted on July 11, 2013

Gun control is a hot button issue in the news, but one thing that all gun owners may have to confront at some point is when to hang up their firearms for good.  A new report attempts to guide doctors and family members through the somewhat awkward process of suggesting that it might be time for an elderly loved one to get rid of their guns in the name of safety.

The advice comes from a doctor with the College of Medicine of Florida State and can be found in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.  The doctor explains that safety begins with doctors asking the right questions.  When treating elderly individuals, it’s important for medical professionals to keep tabs on their ownership of weapons.

The worry is that, while gun owners may intend to be fully responsible, the onset of dementia, depression, or some other type of illness could lead to an accidental discharge that harms the owner or other people.

Once the doctor comes to the conclusion that such a danger is present, he or she might then speak with family members about the problem.  Firearms may need to be taken away from the living space or at the very least kept in a locked storage area.  If family members refuse, it may be admissible for a doctor to speak with police.  As the author states, ignoring the issue could lead to charges of neglect.

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