2 of 3 Americans OK With Doctors Discussing Gun Safety

MONDAY, July 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A large majority of American adults thinks it’s OK for doctors to discuss gun safety with their patients, a new study reveals.

The online survey included more than 3,900 respondents. The researchers found that 66 percent said it was at least sometimes appropriate for doctors to talk about guns with patients.

Twenty-three percent said it was always appropriate for doctors to talk to patients about guns, 14 percent said it was usually appropriate, and 30 percent said it was sometimes appropriate, the survey found.

Seventy percent of people who didn’t own guns said such discussions were at least sometimes appropriate. Only 54 percent of gun owners thought such discussions were at least sometimes OK, the study authors found.

The study, led by Dr. Marian Betz of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, was published July 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

It’s estimated that there were almost 34,000 gun deaths and 81,000 nonfatal gun injuries in the United States in 2014. Most gun deaths (59 percent) are suicide, the report noted.

However, unsafe gun storage practices can also result in deaths, the study authors said in a journal news release.

Many public health experts suggest that doctors provide gun safety counseling to patients, particularly if there are children or teens in the home, or when there is a risk patients may harm themselves or others.

More information

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence outlines the risks of having guns in the home.