In defense of 2nd Amendment rights, it seems state Rep. Joshua Putnam wants to take away 1st Amendment rights.
Putnam (R-Anderson) is author and primary sponsor of H. 3416, a bill first introduced in January that would make it illegal for a doctor or nurse to ask patients about guns.
“A health care provider must not ask a patient about firearm ownership or possession of a firearm or the presence of firearms in the patient’s home,” reads the bill, which would allow exception only if the patient was being treated for a gunshot wound or a psychiatric disorder.
“We don’t want citizens to feel like they are going to be intruded upon whenever they go to a physician,” Putnam told The State.
Moreover, Putnam said he fears future federal laws that would force doctors to question patients about guns.
Putnam is apparently over-anxious about recent White House proposals to eliminate legal barriers that otherwise restrict psychiatrists from reporting to legal authorities about patients who are mentally unfit for gun ownership.
His bill has medical providers in the state a bit anxious, however. Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, president of the state’s American Academy of Pediatrics, told The State “they are trying to get Big Government to come in and dictate what we can and cannot say, while at the same time, they are trying to tell Big Government to stay out of their right to own guns.”
Local law enforcement, such as Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, find the bill to be “asinine.
“Instead of preventing people from talking about gun safety, we should be encouraging more people to speak out,” Lott said.
So far this year, three children in South Carolina have been killed by accidental gunshot wounds in their homes.
Now in review by the Committee on Judiciary, H. 3416 currently has 57 sponsors, all of whom are Republican. Another legislator (Rep. Chip Huggins, R-Lexington) recently removed his name as co-sponsor after doctors in his District 85 objected to it, he said.
Putnam’s bill is certainly unique, but still falls into a general category that seems quite popular of late in state legislatures. At least 15 states have recently introduced bills that intend to counter any federal gun control laws proposed following a school shooting in Connecticut last December.
For example, six states called for teachers to carry guns in their classrooms, Wyoming’s state government is considering law to ban any federal laws pertaining to weapons, and a Montana bill wants to allow local police to arrest FBI agents for enforcing national gun laws.
This trend is rampant in South Carolina’s state legislature, too. Sen. Sean Bennett (R-Summerville) introduced a bill that would allow concealed weapons in bars, for example, and Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) wants high schools to offer shooting classes.
Putnam introduced another bill on the subject – blocking federal gun laws from applicability in the state and refusing any funding for their enforcement – in February.
Other bills he’s proposed this year include “The Personhood Act,” a slyly worded anti-abortion bill which declares human life begins at initial egg fertilization, and H. 3725, which would allow public schools to administer epinephrine (a prescription adrenaline hormone) to students by injection, and with immunity from liability.