January 10, 2017
Have you ever felt unsafe in your workplace? Have you wondered about possible violence towards you by a patient or family member who was very disappointed with a decision you made to perhaps not refill their medicine? Have you ever requested a staff member escort you to your car at the end of the day? Have you attended "Active Shooter" training at work? Why do I bring this up? Our governor has suggested that he will sign legislation that would allow for concealed carry of personal firearms without a permit. How does this impact health and healthcare delivery you may ask?
A little background information for you. New Hampshire does not require a gun safety course or background check to purchase. The current laws require a person who wishes to carry a loaded weapon to obtain a permit from the police. The applicant must explain the reason for their request, (i.e. hunting, target shooting, personal protection). The police may decide to not grant the permit if they believe the applicant is not of sound character. Many in the statehouse feel this is arbitrary and unfair for the law-abiding citizens and that criminals will not obtain the permit.
In healthcare, we interact with people when they are the most vulnerable. We have to tell them bad things or family members may have bad outcomes. Violence in healthcare delivery is much more common than in other industries. We cannot tolerate more violence or fear of an active shooter situation in our workplace.
Although New Hampshire has not had a mass shooting and has low levels of gun violence, the current laws provide a check and balance while not limiting gun ownership. I encourage you to take a stand to try to keep the current permitting process in place by working to defeat SB 0012.
Deb Harrigan, MD
Please send questions or comments to email@example.com.