New gun legislation brings concern about medical privacy - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New gun legislation brings concern about medical privacy

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The 16th executive order signed by President Barack Obama to curb gun violence on Wednesday has some concerned, but could mean some differences in the confidential relationship between doctor and patient.

Number 16 states, "Clarify that the affordable care act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."

That has some concerned about the confidential relationship between doctors and patients.

"With medical doctors,  what business do they need that information for anyways," gun owner William Law said.

State Representative Louie Gohmert said his concern is about the government having access to that private information.

"I do cringe when I hear any federal official, especially the President, encourage people like doctors or insurance companies to be probing and spying and delving into the private lives of their patients for the government's benefit," Rep. Gohmert said.

White House officials say that it is just a clarification, that doctors are allowed to ask their patients if they own a gun, but they do not have to ask. At this point there are no repercussions if a patient chooses to not answer.

Members of the American Legion said it's a possibility that someone who is on the fence about getting help in the first place, like some veterans, might not get the help they need.

"There is a possibility that some of them won't go. There's a possibility that they will simply lie," veteran Michael Reppuhn said.

Many mental health professionals already ask about guns and weapons when treating a patient.

"One of the things that we do when patients come in, even before they are admitted, we ask them about their potential for suicide risk and we ask about any weapons in the home, or ways they might harm themselves," said Janice Terry of ETMC Behavioral Health Center.

And that is one thing William Law supports.

"The people who need the information are the mental health professionals, because we don't have a gun problem, we have a mental health problem," Law said.

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