NORTHWEST HOUSTON-- Opinions about about guns in America seem to fall on two sides. Either you are like our president and you think guns need more regulations and restrictions. Or you think like the NRA and pro-gun folks: 'guns don't kill people; people kill people.' So you believe better mental health care is the solution to our gun problem.
Now, with the recent 'open carry' laws in Texas, those two sides have converged. So, if you're licensed, you can open carry your gun right into 10 mental hospitals across the Lonestar state, while that is not allowed in general surgical hospitals.
Dr. George Santos, chief medical officer with Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital thinks that is a huge mistake, "The odds of something bad happening in a psychiatric facility, especially a state psychiatric facility is very high. These are the sickest patients in the state. These are patients who could not be managed in their local community."
Dr. Santos says he plans to go before the Texas legislature to address this issue of guns in mental health facilities in the upcoming session. This is nothing new. He has worked with professional psychiatric societies for 15 years, testifying before both the House and Senate numerous times.
"Hospitals need to be safe havens," he explains, "They need to be healthy. They need to be as distant from danger as possible." He says allowing open carry makes that impossible. "In the arena of bad ideas for healthcare, this is near the top."