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Is there a connection between healthcare reform and gun rights?

Yes, if there’s a centralized medical database. It’s one reason some people are showing up armed at town hall meetings.

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“I think [gun owners] regularly underestimate the degree to which their own views are taken into account, but what people hear and see is that there are very influential people who are given to making statements like, ‘I support the Second Amendment,’ but who don’t think it would prohibit confiscation of weapons,” says Dan Polsby, dean of the George Mason University School of Law and an expert on the Second Amendment.

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While the NRA has sided with background check reform, Gun Owners of America has historically opposed federal background checks for gun ownership. The organization says such checks overly burden lawful Americans and have no effect on criminal violence.

Pratt says GOA, based in Springfield, Va., has not encouraged anyone to bring weapons to political protests. But he hopes more gun owners will make the connection between gun licensing and new healthcare proposals.

“If I’d seen a dozen guys with guns all holding signs that say, ‘Socialized medicine equals gun control,’ I would’ve died and gone to heaven,” he says.

Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Vice President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the White House is releasing $1.2 billion as the first step toward establishing national medical health records, as outlined in the stimulus bill. The federal government has set aside a total of $20 billion to implement electronic health records nationally, a gambit to improve care and cut costs. Centralized records could save $12 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. "Expanding the use of electronic health records is fundamental to reforming our healthcare system," Ms. Sebelius said in a statement.

"Putting into place safeguards for the privacy and security of this information, when it is in electronic form, will be an ongoing priority that influences and guides all of our efforts," writes Dr. David Blumenthal, the White House's national coordinator for Health Information Technology, in an Aug. 20 commentary.
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