The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) reminds Montana gun owners and health care providers that House Bill 459, enacted by the 2013 legislative session, becomes effective on October 1st.
HB 459, now Montana law at 50-16-108, M.C.A., prohibits health care providers from asking patients questions about firearm ownership, possession or use. This new law does allow health care providers to inquire about patient possession of a firearm on the person of the patient at the time of treatment.
HB 459, carried by Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel), was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Bullock to address concerns by gun owners that medical interviews and computerized medical records might be used as a tool to collect and centralize information about individuals’ firearm ownership. Gun owners were also concerned that anti-gun bias by a health care practitioner might cause information about patient firearms to skew a practitioner’s patient assessment or treatment.
According to Montana law, health care providers and facilities affected by this new law includes both medical and psychological practitioners.
MSSA President Gary Marbut commented, “When originally introduced, HB 459 only specified that health care practitioners could not refuse treatment because a patient declined to answer questions about firearms. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee expanded the measure to also forbid providers from even asking patients questions about firearms. The House approved that change and the Governor signed the bill.” “Because firearms are so ubiquitous in Montana and so unrelated to health care,” Marbut continued, “we think this is very positive public policy by the Legislature. This new law is very suitable for Montana people and for Montana culture.”
MSSA is the primary political advocate for gun owners in Montana and has gotten 63 pro-gun and pro-hunting bills passed since being founded in 1989. See: http://www.mtssa.org/success
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50-16-108. Privacy in health care — ownership of firearms. (1) No health care provider or health care facility may:
(a) refuse to provide health care to a person because the person declines to answer any questions concerning the person’s ownership, possession, or use of firearms; or
(b) inquire about a person’s ownership, possession, or use of firearms as a condition of receiving health care.
(2) For the purposes of this section:
(a) the terms “health care”, “health care facility”, and “health care provider” have the meanings provided in 50-16-504; and
(b) the term “possession” does not apply to the presence of a firearm on the person of a patient at the time of treatment.
50-16-504. Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:
(4) “Health care” means any care, service, or procedure provided by a health care provider, including medical or psychological diagnosis, treatment, evaluation, advice, or other services that affect the structure or any function of the human body.
(5) “Health care facility” means a hospital, clinic, nursing home, laboratory, office, or similar place where a health care provider provides health care to patients.
(6) “Health care information” means any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that identifies or can readily be associated with the identity of a patient and relates to the patient’s health care. The term includes any record of disclosures of health care information.
(7) “Health care provider” means a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the laws of this state to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
Hat Tip: Northwest Liberty News
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