Red Cross Worker asks Blood Donors “Do You Own A Gun?”

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Visits to the doctor may be getting more personal than necessary. Physicians are being pushed to ask unrelated, inappropriate questions [1] – compliments of Obamacare. However, buried in the heap of healthcare nonsense is one sliver of decency that actually protects patients’ privacy when it comes to firearms. Section 2716 part c of the Affordable Care Act prohibits the federal government from using healthcare professionals or patients’ records to collect any information regarding the lawful possession of a firearm or to create a database of gun owners. [2]


While a victory for Second-Amendment enthusiasts, the law hasn’t stopped the Administration from pushing its own agenda. In January 2013 after the tragic Newtown, Connecticut incident, the President issued 23 executive actions with one pertaining to Obamacare, clarifying “the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” [3]


Carolyn, a Utah resident, learned last fall some medical professionals are using that liberty to pry for information.


“Last September, I went to donate blood. The blood drive was sponsored by my church and run by the Red Cross. The worker who was to draw my blood had a whole page of questions to ask me regarding my health, any medication I take, etc., which I can naturally understand. However, the last question she asked me was, ‘Do you own a gun?’ I was absolutely stunned,” she explained.


Shocked by not only the inappropriateness but also the relevancy of the question, Carolyn quickly spouted, “You are kidding, right?”


The persistent phlebotomist said, “No, I’m not kidding. Do you own a gun?”


Carolyn admitted that she finally answered the question, but was quite angry about it. “What in the world does owning a gun have to do with my healthcare or my willingness to donate blood?”


Curious to see if this was a universal practice among blood drives, she scheduled to donate again on February 25. This time it was conducted in a blood mobile at a nearby bank. Instead of being questioned by a phlebotomist, the complete process was done via computer.


“They ushered me into a little cubbyhole. [After] I answered all the questions on the computer, I got the woman’s attention and asked, ‘Isn’t there one more question? Aren’t you supposed to ask me if I own a gun? They did the last time I gave blood,’” shared Carolyn


The blood-drive worker who was clearly shocked said, “We’ve never asked that question.” The lady’s response left Carolyn even more confused as to why the first phlebotomist was so adamant about the gun issue.


To help understand what should be asked, we contacted American Red Cross Blood Services in Utah. The helpful worker at the office was also bewildered by Carolyn’s incident. According to the Utah office, that is not part of their criteria. All questions are related to the donor’s health and blood safety. The worker noted if there are any strange variances from the standard protocol, people should speak with the drive’s supervisor.


Carolyn’s unfortunate experience is a lesson to us all. If asked invasive questions that infringe on our rights, it’s wise to do more questioning than answering. This reminder comes as the Senate mulls the President’s Surgeon General Nominee, who holds some extreme anti-Second Amendment views, including advocating for “new Obamacare regulations that would allow doctors to document whether their patients are gun owners.” [4]


Carolyn frustratingly exclaimed, “I now go on record as saying that I will NEVER give my doctor or any other healthcare giver an answer to that question again.”


The Constitution agrees with her.