NBC: ‘From His Cold Dead Hands–When Should Grandpa Give Up His Guns?’

Screenshot 2014-07-05 at 9.21.57 AMEditor’s Note: Is this legitimate concern for the elderly not to endanger themselves, or is this another form of gun control? Check out their stance. Seems like the health care system is a back door to gun control.

Many Baby Boomers already dread “the talk” –- suggesting their aging parents surrender car keys –- but now two geriatric experts say another thorny, family question must be asked of some elderly folks.

Is it time to give up your gun?

In a recently published paper, the two physicians offer a five-point checklist meant to help caregivers assess whether firearms remain safe in the hands and homes of older Americans, particularly if the gun owners are exhibiting unclear thinking or depression.

“Just like with some (older) people, it’s not if you should stop driving, but when,” said Dr. Ellen M. Pinholt, a co-author and former chief of geriatric medicine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “If we find some dementia present in a patient, it can be about when to lock up the weapon or whether we have the family take it away.

“But nothing else has really been out there to help families to begin that conversation,” added Pinholt, a retired Army colonel who practices medicine in Rapid City, South Dakota. Her recommendations were informed by past home-health visits, including: one grandparent who kept a loaded handgun under a bed, a 97-year-old woman who didn’t know how to unload her weapon, and an older firearm owner who appeared confused.

The paper, published June 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, lists “5 Ls” to ask an older gun owner: Is his or her gun “loaded” and “locked;” do “little” children visit the home; is the owner feeling “low,” and is he or she “learned” about proper use?

Pinholt, a firearm owner, said she and her co-author, a retired Army Ranger, “are not against guns,” and simply are seeking to reduce suicide risk and boost safety for visitors –- including home-health professionals. Some gun-rights advocates assert, however, the paper’s focus on the elderly is another attempt to try to chip away constitutional freedoms.

“The ‘5 ‘L’s’ suggest that senior citizens must automatically be considered safety risks if they are firearms owners –- a notion we find rather insulting if not preposterous,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Washington.

“Should we prevent people from serving in public office into their 70s or 80s? Decisions they make could affect millions of citizens,” Gottlieb added. “Simply because someone is older does not mean they should begin to lose their firearms rights … One doesn’t lose his or her civil rights merely because we turn the page of a calendar.”

About three hours north of New York City, former paramedic and gun owner Warren Johnson, 65, said he would become instantly leery should anymedical professional delve into a line of questioning regarding firearms.

This article continues at nbcnews.com


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