Learn more about doctors and gun safety

April 18, 2013 

Learn more about doctors and gun safety

The editorial in the April 3 opinion page, “Don’t muzzle doctors on gun safety,” is supported by a South Carolina Judicial Mandate requiring health professionals to notify and warn individuals if a patient threatens them harm. This is known as the Tarasoff duty, arising from a case in which a therapist heard a patient make threats against Ms. Tarasoff’s life; eventually the patient killed her. South Carolina has upheld this obligation.

In inquiring about threats made by a patient, a healthcare provider would likely ask about the intended weapon, and because it is the most common weapon in assaults and murders, it would lead to questions about firearms.

Readers who are interested in exploring this issue for themselves may find the following internet resources helpful: Tarasoff vs Regents of California, South Carolina vs Bishop, and P. Hebert and K Young, Tarasoff at twenty-five in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, volume 30 number 2 2002 pages 275-281.

Kim Masters

Fort Mill

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