It May Soon Be Illegal For Doctors In Florida To Ask About Gun Safety

from the missing-the-point dept

Via Boing Boing, we learn of a bill in Florida — apparently lobbied for heavily by the NRA — that would make it illegal for doctors to ask patients about their gun safety habits. This is especially targeted towards pediatricians, who regularly ask that of parents:

As parents know, pediatricians ask a lot of questions. Dr. Louis St. Petery says it’s all part of what doctors call “anticipatory guidance” — teaching parents how to safeguard against accidental injuries. Pediatricians ask about bike helmets, seat belts and other concerns.

“If you have a pool, let’s talk about pool safety so we don’t have accidental drownings,” he says. “And if you have firearms, let’s talk about gun safety so that they’re stored properly ? you know, the gun needs to be locked up, the ammunition stored separate from the gun, etc., so that children don’t have access to them.”

For decades, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged its members to ask questions about guns and how they’re stored, as part of well-child visits.

Seems reasonable, right? Well, not according to the NRA, who claims that this is a “moral judgment” and a “privacy intrusion.”

I have to admit that I’m at a total loss to see what the NRA is concerned about here. I thought the NRA was a huge proponent of gun safety. I mean, on the NRA’s website it has a section on gun safety where it declares:

Since the NRA’s incorporation in 1871, public safety and community service have been among our highest priorities…. At the NRA, we’re dedicated to the lawful, effective, responsible and above all safe use of firearms. And today, we do more to ensure Americans are safe around firearms — whether or not they choose to own them — than any other public or private group.

So, um, why would they possibly want this ban?

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Comments on “It May Soon Be Illegal For Doctors In Florida To Ask About Gun Safety”

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Mike C. (profile) says:

Oh that's easy...

First, let me put on my tinfoil hat…

*dons hat*

See, the doctors are really just another arm of the government and while they say they are asking for the purposes of safety, it’s really a secret firearm tracking program started to eventually eliminate our 2nd Ammendment right to bear arms. The NRA is looking to stop this invasion of our privacy.

*removes hat*

On another note, I’d love to see a counter campaign from the doctors:

The NRA wants you to kill your children*

* accidentally because we weren’t allowed to suggest ask about firearm safety and your children


umccullough (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And that’s the problem – the assertion that educating people on proper gun use requires them to own a gun first.

The discussion shouldn’t even ask about whether the parent “owns a gun” – it should be: “are you familiar with gun safety, and if not, we recommend you learn about it”.

Gun safety is important even if you don’t own a gun, as you may have friends who do – and if you ever visit their house with your children present, it is partially your responsibility as a parent to ensure you don’t put them in danger.

So I can understand the NRA’s point of view: Doctors shouldn’t be asking people if they own guns. They should, instead, be offering education regardless.

Same with pool safety, BTW, many people don’t own a pool, but I bet they know someone who does.

Chris Marshall says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your suggestion that everyone needs to learn gun safety because “your friends may be gun owners” is a ridiculous assertion. That’s like saying “everyone must get a valid operator’s permit because your friends may own a car, and it’s your job to keep you and your family safe around these potential killing machines.” If you own a gun, it’s your responsibility to keep family, friends, guests, strangers, enemies, and everyone else safe from your decision to own a gun, and as an extension, it’s your job to prevent your gun(s) from falling in the hands of those not educated in gun safety. NRA supporters all seem to want “individual responsibility” except when it applies to them. Take some responsibility for your decision to own a gun and keep yourself and your family safe.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Responsibility in one area doesn’t translate to responsibility everywhere. In addition, many people think they’re being responsible, but really aren’t. So you may have a friend who thinks the safety is on, but he’s really just as uneducated and unrealistic as his buddy who’s proud of his lack of gun safety education.

In either case, you’re not going to be safe unless you know about gun safety.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I trust him. He’s my friend.

The entire world is not made up of your trusted friends, crade, and the entire world is what your child is exposed to.

In addition, even trusted friends make mistakes. You should know enough about everything to be able to assess the basic safety of any area that you’re allowing your children to go, both with and without you, without relying on the knowledge of others.

Why? Because your children are your responsibility, not your friends’ responsibility, and trusting everyone to know what children are like and what kind of shenanigans they can get up to with your things is simply ignorant bad parenting.

Chris Marshall (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Fair enough… you didn’t exactly say that everyone must learn gun safety… you just said that “Gun safety is important” and implied ‘for everyone.’ But, that being said, wouldn’t you agree then that for people who do not regularly associate with gun owners, being asked by your doctor “do you own a gun” or any other variant of the question would be a good way to start a conversation about gun safety? I still stand by my assertion that NRA supporters seem to be applying the double standard of personal responsibility for everyone but themselves by trying to silence any conversations about gun safety. By moving to ban the question of gun ownership (which, when answered in the context of the doctor’s exam room, is entirely confidential, btw), the NRA and it’s supporters help to further stifle the already strained conversations about gun safety in this country. You suggest that the doctors should be “offering education regardless.” But doctors are simply acting within the simple facts that guns are 43 times more likely to be used to kill someone known to the family than in self defense [Kellermann AL, Reay DT, Protection or peril? An analysis of firearm-related deaths in the home.N Engl J Med314, 1986, 1557, 1560]. If the patient says “no” then the doctor moves on to other question (perhaps about pools, as you suggest). So, by asking “do you own a gun?” the doctor is doing his or her job to keep your kid safe and healthy. By removing that question from the table, the NRA makes it harder for a doctor to do his or her job in a timely and effective manner. You suggest, rather, that it’s the doctor’s job to provide education on every threat to your child when you say the doctor should ask “are you familiar with gun safety, and if not, we recommend you learn about it.” This train of thought implies that the doctor isn’t capable of making simple risk analysis. If the child isn’t going to be exposed to guns in the home, they’re less likely to be killed by them (as confirmed by the IPR’s three year study available here: ). By asking leading questions, the doctor can spend less time on lower risk subjects, and more time on higher risk subjects. Are people going to lie to their doctors? Potentially, yes. But if you’re lying to your doctor, you should probably go find a new doctor that you can trust anyway, regardless of your or their stance on gun safety.

umccullough (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, I’ll concede that the question would naturally start with: “Do you, or anyone you know, own a gun?”

But I would still rather avoid that, and go with: “Do you wish to learn about gun safety?”

By re-forming the question as such, you relieve the patient from giving up personal details, and you turn gun safety into an “opt-in” for any patient.

As someone who only has vision in one eye, my eye doctor doesn’t ask me: “What do you do on the weekends and your spare time?” before attempting to educate me about the importance of safety glasses – instead he says: “You should take extra care to wear safety glasses at the appropriate times, and keep them handy.”

It’s just a matter of how you approach a risk-related subject. I guess I just get annoyed at that aspect of human social interaction. Coming up with criteria for when they should be educated instead of simply offering the education and/or advice and letting them decide if it applies to them.

Chris Marshall (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I completely understand the sense of frustration. As you illustrate, it’s simply a risk analysis. Its the same reason why my doctor hasn’t once educated me on eye safety, but yours does routinely. In my case, eye safety is a low risk issue in my case. Doctors are making them dozens of times when they see you, on a range of issues… for example, thats why they want to know your medical history. If you have a higher risk of cancer in your family, they’re going to do more work with you regarding cancer testing and lifestyle modification education. Hence my frustration… what’s different about asking “does anyone in your family have cancer?” is performing the same risk analysis as “does anyone in your family have a gun?” I’m frustrated because this is only going to up the cost of gun related injuries (which is approximately $112 billion annually [Cook PJ, Ludwig J. Gun Violence: the real costs. New York: Oxford University Press, 200]). That’s $112 billion. Even if that’s all private cash (which, it’s estimated that half of all firearm related healthcare costs are covered by taxpayers [Cook PJ, Lawrence BA, Ludwig J, Miller TR. The medical costs of gunshot injuries in the United States. JAMA
282(5):447-54, 1999]) then that means that’s cash that could be buying goods and services and otherwise creating jobs. Instead, the NRA will be requiring doctors to make uninformed assessments about their patients, which I believe leads to higher healthcare costs for us all.

Beta (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“…guns are 43 times more likely to be used to kill someone known to the family than…”

Used to kill someone? That’s not the same as accidental injury, so it really isn’t relevant to this conversation (and it’s highly misleading in other ways).

Do you have gun statistics in your argument? If so, you should know how to handle them correctly, in order to avoid faulty reasoning. I recommend that you get some training, but I have mixed feelings about whether you should be required to get a license…

Chris Marshall (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:


“…guns are 43 times more likely to be used to kill someone known to the family than…”

Fair enough… I had hoped to imply that if there is such a disparity in how people think guns are used to how they are actually used, one could infer a high rate of injury in children, which makes it applicable in this conversation.

Instead, I’ll simply state that in 1997, 22.5% of all injury deaths age 1-19 were firearm related [National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site]. And I’ll happily imply that even if the accidental injury rate of the entire population of the earth was 0, 22.5% of all deaths age 1-19 is a bit high for my liking, therefor, I think it’s short sighted on the part of the NRA to restrict doctor’s abilities to ask any questions, including those about guns.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Instead, I’ll simply state that in 1997, 22.5% of all injury deaths age 1-19 were firearm related [National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site].

I’d assume this statistic is all injury deaths (huh?), including those caused by accidental discharge by themselves, accidental discharge by someone else, stray fire (which could be accidental or on purpose,) discharge during the commission of a crime (gang related, murder, during commission of robbery, kidnapping, etc.,) and discharge during a suicide or suicide attempt, and that firearm, as defined here, is the legal definition which involves more than pistols/handguns, to also include air/pneumatic guns, rifles, shotguns, and dangerous/illegal firearms?

See, the statistic is entirely too broad to make any sort argument to the statement you are making. If 22.5% of all injury deaths age 1-19 were caused by the negligent discharge of a firearm by themselves or by someone they were related to, then I could say…wow, that number seems high, and someone should do something about it. However, it still doesn’t help the problem, which is that the NRA is concerned that doctors may not be qualified to teach on matters of gun safety, or that they may use the information they obtain (which isn’t necessarily relevant to health and welfare,) to further the goals of those who seek to outlaw firearms.

I certainly agree that more education is needed…but are doctors the best people to be teaching gun safety, or should law enforcement/gun salespeople be the best folks to teach it? I certainly agree that if doctors scope the question as “would you like to know more about gun safety,” and hand them off to a specialist, this may be the better way than a doctor who may never have held a gun asking a parent if they have a gun.


Re: Re: Re:3 Gotta feed the beast...

Guns are modern technological devices commonplace in a free society. There’s just no getting around that. Just like any other artifact of modern society, you have to be ready to deal with it before you happen to encounter it. The same goes for your children (if you have them).

If you have your panties in a bunch about guns, then clearly it makes sense that gun education in general is a useful and logical thing.Of course, such a thing would undermine the hype and hysteria and ignorance that surrounds guns.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, everyone should know basic gun safety just like everyone should know to look both ways before crossing the street. Sad thing is, most people don’t know ether.

People should also know how to use a fire extinguisher, Stop Drop and Roll, basic first aid, etc. Standard things, even if the goal is to never use them in your life.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t expect a nurse to be able to program in C++, I also don’t expect a programer to be able to properly insert an IV. I do expect both of them to know not to put a plugged in toaster into a bath. What’s so bad about expecting people to know basic safety of things that are vary common in our lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Where did you get “clean and store???
You are implying that it is about protecting the firearm.
This is about educating/protecting the public. Seems like in Florida every pediatrician should supply safety information Pools, alligators, and firearms and be ready to discuss it further if their clientele asks.

Doctor: Do you OWN a swimming Pool?
Patient: NO!
Doctor: Then you don’t need any education on child – pool safety since you don’t have a pool at home.

At the end of the day a gun is a tool, just like a pool is a tool used for swimming and a car is a tool used for transportation. Any of these without proper education can be dangerous.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Thanks for the insult

Pointing out the flaws in your argument may have been offensive, but they certainly were not degrading, meaning no insult exists. Nice try, though.

I certainly didn’t mean for it to be a strawman.

Your intention doesn’t really matter. You took a perfectly rational argument – that parents should know about basic gun safety – and ran past the goalpost with it, thereby creating a strawman to knock down. Why? I’m not sure. We’ll leave that answer as an exercise for the student.

The clear implication was that non-gun owners need to get the same gun safety lecture as gun owners which is what I find ridiculous.

No, the clear implication was that non-gun owners didn’t need gun safety education at all, which is certainly not a logical conclusion. Every child needs to know basic gun safety, just as ever child needs to know basic pool safety, basic electrical safety, and basic ‘things that are hot’ safety. Non-ownership of guns, pools, electricity, and a grill or whatever is not enough to preclude the need for these kinds of knowledge, unless you’re keeping your child locked up in a room in said non-gun, non-pool, non-electrical, non-things-that-are-hot home. (In which case we have bigger things to worry about than gun or pool safety.)

Regardless of the actual implications, you’re still wrong. Gun owners and non-gun owners alike do need the same basic education. Gun owners so they can behave safely and non-gun owners so that they can recognize safe and not-safe behavior. End of story.

Also, you’re ugly.

See? That’s an insult, and has nothing to do with the topic. Try to stay on topic next time and you won’t have to look like so much of an asshat. 🙂

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

We talking about things like the proper way to store and clean a gun.

The first is a facet of gun safety that everyone should know. The second is a facet of gun safety that gun users should know. Therefore, they’re not both what we’re talking about.

And the reason that everyone should know the first is so that you can, at a glance, understand if you’re safe in the area that you’re in.

Why would these things be a priority for me over, say, how to properly clean and store a samurai sword?

Most people do know if a sword is stored safely or not. Is it stored in a cover, or in a place where it can’t fall and injure someone, etc.? So why not basic gun knowledge?

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

If you mean basic common sense…

No, I most certainly do not mean ‘basic common sense’ since I don’t actually believe in such a thing.

…like don’t point it at people or store it loaded in the toy chest, then yes everyone should know.

Obviously, you could use a basic gun safety course yourself, if you think that’s all that’s necessary.

However, this is not the same thing as saying there is no reason to ask if someone is a gun owner or not because they need all the same info either way.

There is no reason to ask, because they do all need the same information. See the above comments on basic education for gun owners and non-gun owners alike.

Actually, your ignorant comments are a prime example of why all parents could use basic gun safety education, because apparently you’d have no problem allowing your hypothetical children to spend time in a home where basic safety means ‘not pointing it at people or storing it loaded in the gun chest’.

I mean wow. The best thing about the upcoming zombie apocalypse is that people like you will be the first ones down.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you own a gun, it’s your responsibility to keep family, friends, guests, strangers, enemies, and everyone else safe from your decision to own a gun, and as an extension, it’s your job to prevent your gun(s) from falling in the hands of those not educated in gun safety.

Nope, it’s not. You’re responsible for your own safety and that of your children, and I’m responsible for my safety and that of your children. End of story.

Regardless of whose responsibility it should be, the fact remains that guns exist in this world. You can:

a. educate your children about them, as umccullough suggests, or

b. sit back and hope that other people do that for you. (Sort of like sex ed in the Bible Belt.)

Which seems more realistic?

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I very much agree with this!

Even in Oklahoma, parents don’t ask us about guns before sending their kids over for parties, playdates, and sleepovers and their children don’t generally know anything about gun safety.

When the zombie apocalypse happens, my children will be safely bringing home dinner while their children starve or shoot themselves.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Off the wall

It’s possible that it’s not something as simple as “Do you own a gun?” It may be something worse like “You must get rid of your gun or I’m reporting you to child services.” That goes outside the bounds of safety and treads on morality and privacy.

This, however, is not justification for this law. The damage that it will do does not out way the benefits. Plus, I think it’s a violation of the first amendment.

Deirdre says:

Re: Off the wall

CPS would yawn if they were given a report that someone has a child and a gun in the home. It’s only when the kid finds the gun under the sofa cushion and shots himself, a friend, takes it to school or scares the neighbor to death by sending a bullet through a window that CPS would be involved.

Melanie says:

My 2 Cents

I completely agree with what the NRA is trying to do hear. It’s none of the doctors business. Obviously if you are a gun owner and have weapons in your home you should be already teaching your children about gun safety. It just like asking someone if they smoke well it is their right to smoke if they are of age. Same goes for having a gun. Lots of parents smoke. Do the doctors ask that question also? Tell them you know second hand smoke kills. Come on people give us something. Not everyone is an idiot.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: My 2 Cents

“It’s none of the doctors business.”

That’s for the parents to decide, not you. The parents aren’t compelled to answer any questions if they don’t want to.

One of the reasons parents go see pediatricians and one of the reasons people go see doctors is for advice. They want the doctors opinions on things. Often times doctors have to ask questions to give answers and their advice on specific situations. Parents don’t have to see pediatricians and they don’t have to answer these questions. If the parents were so worried about their privacy they wouldn’t see a pediatrician.

and there is such thing as doctor-patient confidentiality (laws) for a reason.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: My 2 Cents

and the argument “but if the parents wanted the doctor to know that they owned a gun they would tell them without being asked. and if a parent wanted advice on how to handle guns, they would simply ask or look it up” doesn’t hold either.

Sometimes parents/patients don’t know what kinds of questions to answer before being asked. They may not think something is relevant. Part of the reason we go see doctors/pediatricians is because they know what questions to ask, they better know what to look for. and search engines can’t always help you if you don’t know what to search for. Otherwise, search engines can simply replace doctors.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Well, not according to the NRA, who claims that this is a “moral judgment” and a “privacy intrusion.” “

You would have a point if parents were compelled to see a pediatrician and to answer whatever question that was asked. Parents don’t have to see a pediatrician (at least for reasons that go beyond treating their child’s immediate illness) and they don’t have to answer a question if they don’t want to.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a case of a few assholes ruining things for everyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s only 1 in 100 doctors that talk down to the parent or in any way make them feel bad/treat differently for their second amendment rights. You won’t hear about the helpful doctors as much as you will about the asshole doctors, so the negative connotation spreads and the NRA wants that negative connotation to stop. Is it that widespread of a problem? Not likely. Does it get alot of attention? I’m sure.

Rob says:

RE: umccullough

umccullough: Oh please. If doctors took that approach, they’d have to advise you on every possible illness you *could* have, rather than asking the right questions about your health and lifestyle to narrow down the *right* advice to give you. Why would a doctor give you a lecture about the dangers of smoking without first asking if you’re a smoker? Doctors ask questions so they know what types of advice to give. They’re not all-around safety advisors who should be warning you of every possible harm that might come to you or your children. They determine what advice to give based on your lifestyle. It is an absurdly reasonable question for a doctor to ask a parent if they own a gun. Not only does the parent have no obligation to answer whatsoever, the whole conversation is legally private. This is the NRA at their most insane, spending lobbying money just to make people less safe.

umccullough (profile) says:

Re: RE: umccullough

Every time I’ve gotten a new doctor, they ask general questions about whether I know the risks of smoking, drinking, etc.

Rarely do they ask first: “Are you a smoker?” or “Do you drink?”

But even if I didn’t smoke or drink yet, why shouldn’t they educate me in advance?

I realize they can’t educate someone on every possible health risk, but I think there are certainly risks that are worth educating people on regardless.

umccullough (profile) says:

Re: RE: umccullough

And, using similar logic, should a teacher ask children what they want to be when they grow up before teaching them skills that they may/may not use?

I realize that’s a ridiculous comparison, but I just don’t see why a doctor must ask a patient what they do in their personal life before giving them advice – the advice should be available to the patient regardless of what they do – and the doctor should ask if they want it.

I just don’t understand why you must first be a gun owner in order to learn gun safety.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: RE: umccullough

Why would a doctor give you a lecture about the dangers of smoking without first asking if you’re a smoker?

So that you know what to do if you encounter a smoker. Or a a swimming pool, or a gun, or whatever.

Of course, I don’t believe that it should be illegal to ask if they own guns; I just think that’s a stupid first question, right there with only giving pool safety advice to pool owners or cigarette safety advice to smokers.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see the NRA needing to push this bill. Seems like Drs can give advice and parents can choose what to do with it.

That said, I can see a lot of Drs getting all haughty and in-your-face with parents over this. Our kids’ Dr has never said anything about it, but our kids are 19 months, so maybe that comes later or something.

BTW, I’m an NRA member and have guns. They are locked up. We have a Gunvault for quick access to one handgun, and the rest are in a big ass safe. And no, ammo should not be stored separately from the gun, WTF is the point of having it if you do that? But that argument has been done to death on the Internet and some peeps just don’t get it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I too don’t see the need for pushing this bill.

And, I too am a member of the NRA and generally support its aims, which are mostly directed towards seeing that fewer laws are created. I don’t see any good coming from this, but I see a world of harm coming from the gift of indignation it hands to the anti-gun groups.

androidhelpersdotcom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually I do believe it is a reasonable law in this instance. Because someone values their privacy a doctor can refuse to see them?

What if before you could enter the supermarket, you had to answer whether or not you owned guns or masterbated recently. Sure, that sounds a bit ridiculous, but it is essentially the same thing. Doctors, anybody, should not be able to refuse service because people value privacy.

Kind of like the same reason everyone is railing on the TSA.. ya know?

Erin B. says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Medical care =/= grocery shopping: a grocery store clerk, owner, or stockboy hasn’t taken an oath to first do no harm to you. They have no moral or legal obligation to look out for your wellbeing. They also are not bound by privacy laws.

Think of it like this. If I go to a grocery store and buy a pack of condoms, the clerk asking me pertinent questions about the condoms is an invasion of privacy, because the clerk doesn’t have responsibility. You don’t have to be a particular age to purchase condoms, you don’t have to prove that you’ll only use them “responsibly”, etc. If I go to Planned Parenthood and ask for a package of condoms, the nurse or doctor on staff there asking me pertinent questions is not an invasion of privacy, because they are actually responsible for how I use the condoms. They’re responsible for teaching me how to properly use them. They’re responsible for asking me if I or my partner have a latex allergy.

A doctor asking if someone owns guns is similar.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

With the government getting its grubby little paws into healthcare, I can see why the NRA might be fighting this. Gun ownership isn’t anything a doctor would normally be concerned with, unless maybe a patient was mentally unstable. If the doctors in this case are merely asking about the general home environment and determining a course of preventive action, that’s one thing, but if the doctors are checking a box on their paperwork that says “Guns in house” – that’s none of their business and I’d fight that too.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In July of 1798, Congress passed ? and President John Adams signed – ?An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen?. This law authorized the creation of a government-operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance. This was 11 years after our government was first organized. 🙂


trish says:


If doctors talk about it, it’s because still today kids are getting their hands on loaded guns. Obviously doctors could not make ‘moral judgments’ and assume that everyone is smart; indeed 50% of the population is below average intelligence. So, the question needs asking. Ity may save just one kid’s life, and if your ‘privacy’ needs a little ‘intruding’ for that, well, intrude away friends. Not that this constitutes privacy intrusion anyway.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: guns

I take it you’re a new parent. That knock at your door is the FBI, they just want to baby proof your house. Don’t worry about them looking threw your nickers, a little privacy violation is OK as long as there’s a .00001% chance of saving a life. No, that agent did not just sniff them. Now let’s go into the living room, they don’t like being watched while they’re doing their thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: guns

You’re being ridiculous. This isn’t a doctor acting as a government agent; and asking if you own a gun is hardly an invasion of your privacy.

Also, about 55% of all accidental gun deaths involve children, and while there are only a couple hundred accidental gun deaths per year (I think in the 190 region), there are about 25,000 non-fatal accidental shootings.

I don’t think it is unreasonable for a pediatrician to ask new parents if they own a gun. I’m sure there are plenty of people with a gun sitting in their closet who rarely think about the gun and certainly it isn’t their first priority when they are bring home a new baby. Even if all the question does is remind them “Oh, I should put that on a top shelf.” then it was probably worth the 5 seconds it took.

NotMyRealName (profile) says:

Re: guns

this argument is broken.

We live in an unsafe world. people die. regularly.
Our rights and freedoms take precedence imo. Same as in the TSA articles.

Also, is the irresponsible parent that doesn’t teach gun safety to their children while they own guns really going to be the same people who have good health insurance and/or can afford to / are willing to bring their children in for a q&a session with their doctor?

androidhelpersdotcom (profile) says:

Re: guns

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin

This has nothing to do with it. How long before other professions ask if people are gun owners? It is nobody’s business whether or not somebody owns a firearm. Nor have I seen it on any medical exams.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: guns


Why don’t you save that quote for something more appropriate. The only one that would be losing any “liberty” in this situation is the doctor, who would be stopped from having an important conversation about safety with new parents.

Also, I don’t care if every store clerk in the U.S. asks if I own a gun, it’s just a question for gods sake.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: guns

> “They that can give up essential liberty to
> obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty
> nor safety.” – Ben Franklin

Yes, yes, that’s about the 10 millionth time that old chestnut has been quoted here.

You’re not breaking any new ground.

I swear there should be some kind of drinking game built around how long it takes someone to post that quote.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: guns

> It is nobody’s business whether or not
> somebody owns a firearm.

I agree. Just as it’s nobody’s business what my doctor says to me in a private medical consultation. Certainly not the government’s business.

If my doctor gets too nosy, I’ll just tell him so and not answer the question. If he persists, I’ll find another doctor.

Last thing we need is yet another law, especially one that purports to regulate what private individuals may talk about with each other.

Anonymous Coward says:

It is not a ban on doctors asking a patient if they have a gun. The media is spinning it this was, but it is inaccurate. Doctors can ask such questions, and patients are free to answer or refuse to do so.

What the statute does do is make it a criminal offense for a doctor to refuse treatment based upon the answer or lack thereof. Moreover, it also defines a criminal offense where whatever answer is given to the question to unrelated third parties.

Is the legislation a good idea? I do not know, but at least it does serve in a small way to preserve the privacy interests of patients.

The bill number in the House of Representatives is HB 155. It has a Senate counterpart that to my knowledge is virtually identical. I do not know if the legislation was voted upon during the recent legislative session.

New Mexico Mark says:

Re: Re:

That makes a lot more sense.

Besides, why do we practically deify medical doctors as repositories of all knowledge? Are doctors gun safety experts? Should they request a home wiring diagram and see if it is up to electrical code? Maybe they should inspect the brakes on your car!

Turn it around and see if it makes sense. If you have kids and go to a gun shop for a repair, should the firearms expert be able to question health questions “just in case” you might have an infectious disease (and refuse service if you don’t feel comfortable answering the questions)? After all, it’s for the children!


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Pediatricians (not doctors generally) ask about guns because about 10,000 children are involved in accidental shootings every year with around 200 of those being fatal.

Also, many states have laws that require parents to properly store their guns or risk liability if their child gains access to the gun. States with CAP laws (child access prevention) report almost 23% fewer accidental shootings. Perhaps the pediatrician was just doing his job and ensuring that the parents understood the law. Florida allows for felony prosecution of parents who do not properly store their guns if the gun is involved in an accidental shooting.

Paul Stout (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ummm… Let’s say your facts are actually correct, something we can’t know unless you’re very specific about where they came from.

But, saying they are correct, please inform me on how this makes it a doctors business? If ones uses the logic, as posted here by many users, then the doctors might as well ask if you own a car, a plane, a boat ad infinitum…. Any you’ll likely get uninformed opinions on every one of those subjects due it not being the doctors area of expertise.

And before you ask, yes I’m both an owner of multiple firearms and also a life long member of the NRA.

With only one or two exceptions here, all of these replies (plus Mikes article, which is a bit of sloppiness on his part that I’m not used to seeing) ignore the fact that the bill has nothing to do with outlawing a doctor asking that question. It has everything to do with outlawing a doctor being able to refuse treating a patient if the person involved says “none of your business” or just flatly refuses to answer the question.

Geez people, at least get your facts right.

Mike, you should have a done a better job of researching this particular article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It has everything to do with outlawing a doctor being able to refuse treating a patient if the person involved says “none of your business” or just flatly refuses to answer the question.

Perhaps you should get your facts straight. The bill bans, asking about guns, refusing treatment based on the answer, and recording information in the patient record about gun ownership.

Each item carries different potential punishment with the maximum being $5,000,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.

A bunch of people, including you, have latched onto the refusing treatment portion and are now pretending that the bill doesn’t include other provisions which ban asking questions and recording the answer.

weneedhelp (profile) says:


“the gun needs to be locked up, the ammunition stored separate from the gun.”

Forget all that just keep a brick beside your bed. It will be just as useful as a gun with no ammo, and about as effective.

Doctors need to worry about treating health issues. Not telling 76 year old men its just a broken rib… that turns out to be cancer that moved in to his brain. Big f’in oops there.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:


Isn’t restricting what my doctor can talk to me about a larger privacy intrusion than the doctor asking me a question of which I don’t have to answer if I don’t want to?

Isn’t stopping a doctor from protecting the safety of a child a larger moral issue than worrying that a doctor might offend a parent’s sensibilities?

Where are the government over reach protesters? Where are the ‘for the children’ politicians?

The cognitive dissonance is strong here.

USMC Limey says:

What are your qualifications ?

How does a Ph.D in pediatrics make somebody qualified to discuss the finer points of firearm safety ? If the American Society of Pediatrics is so concerned about this then they should publish literature written by people who have credentials in the field of firearms (I recommend Massad Ayoob). This literature could be included in a Drs welcome packet to the parents, displayed with all the anti-smoking and such materials in the waiting room and even linked on the practices website.
Most pediatricians I have run across are barely capable of prescribing the right antibiotic (which they supposedly are qualified to do), let alone prescribing the correct method of storage for my firearms.

John Doe says:

It is a case of "give an inch, take a mile"

The NRA pretty much fights every law dealing with any restriction on gun ownership rights because just like with IP maximalists, anti-gunners ask for an inch but take a mile.

Also, what good is an unloaded, locked gun? My Glock .40 and S&W .357 are in my bedside stands, one on my side, one on my wife’s sided. The are cocked, locked and ready to rock. Ok, the revolver isn’t cocked (Glock’s always are unless fired). Of course I don’t have kids and appropriate precautions should be taken when children are around. But for Doctors who probably don’t know squat about guns or gun safety to talk about it would be like getting stock advice from a janitor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It is a case of "give an inch, take a mile"

In Florida there are Child Access Prevention laws which make parents liable if a child gains access to a gun which isn’t properly stored.

I don’t think it is unreasonable for a pediatrician to warn new parents that they could have their child taken from them if the child is involved in a gun accident where guns are not safely stored.

USMC Limey says:

PSA from your doctor.

Toasters should be bolted to the kitchen countertop no less than 4 feet away from any source of liquid. The power cord should be kept separate and all electrical outlets should only be accessible by biometric retinal scan of either parent. At no time should a toaster come within 20ft of a bathtub hence we’ll send the Nanny patrol to lock you up in a padded room so you won’t be a danger to yourself or anyone else. We are you’re government and this is for your own good.

John Doe says:

What about the Constitution?

It is interesting to read all the anti-gun comments here on the same blog with all the pro 1st & 4th amendment discussions. I guess we should ignore the amendments we agree with and pertain to us. Oh wait, that would make us as bad as the DHS, ICE and the government as a whole.

Erin B. says:

Re: What about the Constitution?

I fail to see what’s anti-gun or pro-gun control about any of these comments. Nobody is advocating doctors have a say in licenses for firearms. Nobody is advocating mandated safety classes for firearm owners.

What’s being said is that this law is nonsense. It is frankly pertinent for a pediatrician to ask whether or not a parent owns a gun and to then advise them on gun safety, even if the advice is simply: Ask your local NRA chapter for some tips. Advice isn’t a legal instruction. Even if a doctor orders you to do something, you’re not legally bound to do so. You suffer no legal repercussions if you ignore them completely.

Similarly, pediatricians ask if parents live in a house with a swimming pool, and give parents advice about how to keep the pool safe, despite the fact that medical school doesn’t cover, say, suburban zoning.

The difference between the protest against this law and the protest against the TSA and other overreaches is that this law isn’t defending a right or righting a wrong. If what I read upthread is correct, this all came about because a pediatrician declined to treat a woman after she refused to answer his questions about whether or not she owned a gun. In this case, she can simply go to another doctor. When the Department of Homeland Security provides for TSA overreach, I can’t just go to another airport: the whole system is regulated in that way. That’s the reason there isn’t a conflict in the general philosophies of this blog.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: What about the Constitution?

See my response below if you want to see what can happen. As for the difference between a pool and a gun is one is a constitution right and one is not. If a Doctor could mind his own business and only offer sincere advice, I would be fine with it. But this isn’t a perfect world and people can’t seem to mind their own business. So when it comes to constitutional rights, I expect everyone to leave well enough alone, most especially the government. This applies because as we know, the healthcare will soon be government controlled and don’t think they won’t find ways to tell you how to live once that happens. Then how are you going to choose another Doctor when they all answer to the same boss?

Life if full of risk and we each choose the risks we are willing to take. With the current nanny state, we are losing our ability to decide for ourselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: What about the Constitution?

as adults we choose the risks we take. as children our parents generally choose those risks for us. BIG difference.

but, based on your “logic” we should just go ahead and pass a law that says nobody can ask you a question you don’t like. that way your privacy is never invaded and you can sleep soundly at night.

again: this has NOTHING to do with federal overreach into YOUR personal life. it only affects the doctor’s ability to ask a reasonable question by restricting their speech.

as a side note: in order for doctors to properly treat a patient, the patient MUST allow the doctor access to their personal lives. your doctor needs to know things that you wouldn’t even tell your priest.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What about the Constitution?

as children our parents generally choose those risks for us

Yes, and it is the parents who make those choices, not doctors or anyone else.

it only affects the doctor’s ability to ask a reasonable question by restricting their speech

The right to bear arms is protected just like free speech and free speech does not trump that right.

as a side note: in order for doctors to properly treat a patient

Gun ownership is not something that needs to be treated by a doctor.

If a doctor wants to talk to parents, separately from their children, fine, no problem because parents can choose to answer. But a doctor asking children questions like this whether their parents are present or not is wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 What about the Constitution?

The right to bear arms is protected just like free speech and free speech does not trump that right.

So when the doctor asks if you own a gun, does the gun magically disappear from your possessions? No, then we can agree this has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment. Moving on.

If a doctor wants to talk to parents, separately from their children, fine, no problem because parents can choose to answer. But a doctor asking children questions like this whether their parents are present or not is wrong.

So, to be clear, a therapist in Florida shouldn’t be able to ask a suicidal teenager if they have access to a gun? They should not be able to ask person who is showing signs of violence or who may be a sociopath if they have access to weapons?

Try thinking about all the implications of a law like this before screaming 2ND AMENDMENT at the top of your lungs.

USMC Limey says:

The information is already out there.

If there was a lack of available information on firearm safety I could see a need but there isn’t. There’s google and yahoo (ok bing too). There are books at the public library and bookstore. Local police departments often offer firearms safety courses and/or flyers. If you ask the staff at the gun store they’re usually more than happy to talk about it, direct you to a course, and sell you a safe (in fact in many stores they will provide a cable lock with the gun – In some states they are required to by law).

Getting advice from somebody who isn’t knowledgable can be far more dangerous than using a little common sense. You get a false sense of security that a highly educated Dr told you how to do it.

Erin B. says:

Re: The information is already out there.

That’s not really the issue at hand, though: it stands to reason that pediatricians would research gun safety specifically because it’s a danger to children. Of course, as a gun owner, the burden of making your house safe is on you, not your doctor, but multiple-sourcing this seems like a good safeguard.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually the government cannot intrude into the province of patient privacy.

If the doctor wants to ask the patient about gun safety, the state cannot infringe on the patient’s right to privacy as much as to ask if the question was made.

Bad law often comes out of state legislatures. The Supreme Court will put it right. But the NRA hopes to frighten doctors into silence. I have been a member of the NRA and I disagree with this political agenda.

nsaamiller (profile) says:

Need to know the background on this people

First off, the AAP (the professional organization for pediatricians) has long held what many would consider very disturbing views on gun ownership. For instance from their website comes this little zinger:

The best way to keep your children safe from injury or death from guns is to NEVER have a gun in the home.
Do not purchase a gun, especially a handgun

This is hardly the worst from them, just what I could source easily. There has been the suggestion that firearms ownership is tantamount to child abuse.

This current bill stems from the Obamacare legislation, wherein the government can mandate physicians to document unhealthy behaviours, i.e gun ownership, listening to talk radio…oh sorry..tinfoil hat mode off…The concern for gun owners is the potential for abuse that this whole unhealthy behaviours questioning mixed with a government controlled health insurance can allow. Particularly when much of the implementation is extra-judicial (yeah – intended word).

It is interesting that this whole bill stems from an incident where a pediatrician fired a patient after asking there were guns in the house. So in the end, maybe all politics is local.

nsaamiller (profile) says:

Re: Need to know the background on this people

Oh yeah, and why post the source of this from NPR (Soros Inc.)? There are plenty of more objective reports on this story. For example…

nsaamiller (profile) says:

Need to know the background on this people

So try this thought experiment; substitute “automobile” for “firearm”. Bet the conclusions would be the same for death and injury. Does that mean your doctor should record whether you drive a corvette or a prius?

The zinger lies in the fact that the professional medical organizations have no business in political advocacy. AAP has been at this for years and it’s no less unseemly now than it was then. My doctor has no business telling me not to buy a gun.

As a doc involved in trauma and head injury I see that an overwhelming majority of patients who come in hurt are drunk. Like 80+%. So is it the car, the motorcycle, the stairways, the gun, the fist? Or the booze? Should I advocate to my patients not to drink at all?

We can drill this one down all day. Red meat…colon cancer. Smoking…cancer, hi BP, MI, etc. The thing about this is a values decision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Need to know the background on this people

suggesting reasonable safety measures to keep a gun out of the hands of a child is not political advocacy, and it has nothing to do with values.

and, yes, you should suggest to your patients that getting drunk regularly may not be such a good idea. that’s not advocacy either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Need to know the background on this people

Does that mean your doctor should record whether you drive a corvette or a prius?

What a stupid assertion. Pediatricians have discussions about child seats and boosters seats with every new parent. No one is asking you to make a list of the types of guns you own, just “do you have one.”

We can drill this one down all day. Red meat…colon cancer. Smoking…cancer

All of which doctors talk to their patients about … so what is your point? Actually the smoking one is a perfect example. When doctors started talking to patients about the risks of smoking you can bet that cigarette companies would have liked a law against it. The only difference in this case is that people start yelling about the 2nd amendment, which isn’t infringed in any way by asking a question, and a group like the NRA starts throwing around cash.

Jesse Townley (profile) says:

As a gun owner...

… I’m shocked by the NRA’s push for this bill. Seriously, whatever happened to “safety first”?

A doctor has NO legal force over what a parent does, unless there are physical signs of child abuse. Owning a gun does not qualify as child abuse, not even here in Berkeley, ha ha ha…

This is a classic case of small-government right-wingers pushing big government directly into our private lives. Others have mentioned the cognitive dissonance above, so just cut and paste those comments here.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

its pretty much been talked to death here but here is my own .02…

its not up to my healthcare provider to attempt to educate me on firearms safety or ensure that i already know about firearms safety. its up to them to make sure i dont get sick or patch me together if god forbid i accedentally shoot my big toes off while cleaing any said firearms i may have.

its the states job to regulate (within reason) access to firearms via reasonable control laws and reasonable requirements to owning a gun. i have absolutely no problem at all with the state saying that if i want to own a gun that i have to take firearm safety traning. i also have no problem with a requirement for certain types of firearms to be limited in access or the requirement for certain types to be stored in specified cases.

i have a huge problem with healthcare providers attempting to determine if i have items that are none of their business, that are legal (assuming any requirements are met) and have nothing to do with what their actual job is… which is not to monitor my knowledge, or lack thereof, of firearms safety.
i see no difference between this and any hospital asking you about your religious preferences, sexual orientation/preferences or political affiliations in order to determine if there any possible dangers either real or percieved to children. at its core, its nothing more than “think of the children” legislation that the world need a lot less of.

Stropp (profile) says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, …

Surely this is at heart a speech issue. The doctor has the right to advise a patient in anyway he wishes, as long as the advice is not directly harmful. It doesn’t matter if it is moralising or not.

John Doe says:

Here is how a conversation would go

Doctor: So little Johnny, does your dad own a gun?
Little Johnny: Uh huh.
Doctor: Is it a handgun.
Little Johnny: Uh huh.
Docotor: Have you ever seen it out where you could get to it?
Little Johnny: Yep.
Docotor: Nurse, get me Child Protective Services, we have a situation here.

Now little Johnny may have seen it out, but did he see it out without an adult around? Was dad just cleaning it and no ammo was around? Kids, when asked leading questions, can be coaxed to say pretty much anything with little effort. Doctors are not trained in gun safety or interrogation techniques so they need to stay away from the subject altogher.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Here is how a conversation would go

Benny6Toes, what you miss is that pediatricians and gun haters WILL do those things. Hell, there have been cases lately of them asking leading questions of children who are suspected of being physically abused, to the point where the judges gave some jail time for contempt of court to people who were testifying once they heard the questions that were used.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re: Here is how a conversation would go

Christopher, this point is lost on most people. You would think the readers here would see “how give and inch take a mile” applies to copyrights and patents and therefore recognize its use in other areas as well. Those who don’t own guns don’t see the battle that is being raged against guns on all fronts. The last thing we need is pediatricians bating children with leading questions. If doctors want to “help” they can hand out brochures on pool safety, gun safety, smoking, diet, exercise, etc. But to ask children or parents with children present is going way to far.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Here is how a conversation would go

Doctor:Doctor: So Little Johnny, have you ever thought about killing yourself?
Little Johnny: Uh huh.
Doctor: Why do you think about killing yourself?
Little Johnny: Because everybody hates me.
Docotor: Why do you think everybody hates you?
Little Johnny: Sometimes I think about shooting myself.
Docotor: Do you have a gun Little Johnny or do your parents?

Bam, 5 years in prison and a 5 million dollar fine. Yeah, I can see how valuable this law is.

The Last Psychiatrist (user link) says:

The bill has nothing to do with guns

The bill doesn’t say doctors can’t ask about guns; it makes it ok for them not to.

It also reduces patient liability. Do you think your HIV status might affect your medical insurance from your job? Imagine what “patient owns three 9mms” might do.

And there’s a bit of denial, information bias: when a doctor asks, what does he really think he’s going to do with that info? You can’t take the gun away. If he’s registered, what is a doctor who knows nothing about guns going to tell him?

And patients are unreliable: whether he says “yes” or “no” to a gun– what do you really know?

But the true import of the law is evident in the main criticism: “this is a free speech issue. The government isn’t allowed to tell me (the doc) what I can and cannot discuss with my patients.”

WRONGOLONGORIA. Medicine is no longer a private matter between doc and patient. The purpose of medicine isn’t to cure the patient, but to treat society– your individual patient just happens to be in the blast zone. It’s not suited to maximize individual outcomes, but to maximize overall outcomes. And outcomes include metrics such as poverty, violence, and social justice. If you have to die of cancer so 100 people in Chicago don’t riot, we’ll see you on the other side.

You can recoil from this, rail against it, but it will not change the reality. Medicine is an arm of social policy, at the service of the government.

Time to bone up on Foucault.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ?Gun Safety? An Oxymoron?

“…these figures contain many instances of guns being used outside the home, or a gun that was brought to the incident by a third party. While most suicides with firearms do take place at home, most homicides do not, and generally the victim is not shot with their own gun. Thus, “the results have limited relevance concerning whether a gun in your own home increases or reduces your own risk of homicide,” the review notes.”

Koby (profile) says:


It looks like the American Academy of Pediatrics is playing politics. They’re attempting to build a database of firearms owners by asking patients and storing it in medical records (something anti-2nd amendment activists desperately desire, because it is always the first step for any country that bans firearms.

From the AAP’s own website:;105/4/888

The AAP makes the following recommendations, which reaffirm and expand on the 1992 policy statement71:

1. The AAP affirms that the most effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.

a) Firearm regulation, to include bans of handguns and assault weapons, is the most effective way to reduce firearm-related injuries.

2. The AAP urges that guns be subject to safety and design regulations, like other consumer products, as well as tracing.

TRACING? What does tracing have to do with heathcare?!?

By comparison, the AAP’s position on swimming pool safety linked me to an outside webpage

It appears that much of their safety suggestions just went offline, but nowhere does it mention eliminating swimming pools. So now there are reports of doctors refusing to treat patients based on a parent’s decision to not answer questions of whether there are firearms within the home.

Christopher (profile) says:

What you miss here, Mike, is that pediatricians have a habit of lambasting any parents who keep guns in their homes in any fashion, saying that it is ‘unsafe’. Just read Koby’s post to explain why I feel that the pediatricians should NOT be allowed to ask about guns in the homes of people, period and done with.

If they want to give the parents information on how to store guns safely, fine… but give it to everyone and leave out the bashing on gun owners.

G Thompson (profile) says:

One question.

If the doctors ask about weapons that might potentially be around children and this law is enacted, since their is that other law stating that patient-doctor confidentiality is sacrosanct wouldn’t the prosecution have a major battle in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the doctor actually stated this since the doctor has absolute immunity NOT to talk about what goes on with the patient (whether the patient is yapping about it or not) unless there is imminent risk of body or life to another..

So the only witness the prosecution would have would be the patients word, that could be easily construed as malicious or politically motivated since I can absolutely assume that the only people who would complain about this to a prosecutor would be the same people who wanted the law in the first place.. Biased evidence your honour.. NEXT!

Caveat: I am not American and IMHO think a fair few of the social and criminal problems that the USA has is to do with the over abundance of easily obtainable weapons. and looking from the outside with an unbiased view of your 2nd amendment and the context which it was written, shows that the original context has been twisted in very misleading and specious ways.

Anonymous Coward says:

It IS a privacy intrusion. I am entitles to my guns and my children are my responsibility. I don’t feel comfortable revealing my extensive gun collection to someone who may not understand it’s for sporting and not a terrorist threat. Who don’t they ask about my sex habits while they are are it? The child might swallow a condom, or might get infected with venereal disease if I have several sexual partners. Also, there are laws to govern how firearms are stored in a house with children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

One more person with one more stupid example:

Who don’t they ask about my sex habits while they are are it?

Many doctors will ask this, especially if you contract an STD and then they would offer safe sex advice. How are you people not getting this?

Also, there are laws to govern how firearms are stored in a house with children

So isn’t is kind of pediatricians to ensure that new parents are aware of those laws so that they don’t have their children taken by protective services in the event of an accident?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

All it takes is common sense. If someone is a parent that is stupid enough to leave a gun loaded or easily accessible then he’s gonna be also irresponsible with his sexual habits and safety around the house in general. It all boils down to parenting. Rise your kids to respect guns, and respect moving cars, and all things that might prove hazardous to them. If I’m an irresponisble parent in general my children should be taken away from me, for their safety. The doctors can’t act as protective services police by interrogating about every hazard. If they see tell tale bruises or signs of abuse, then interrogate further.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Where to begin?

All it takes is common sense.
There is not such thing, while often talked about “common sense”, like unicorns, does not actually exist.

If someone is a parent that is stupid enough to leave a gun loaded or easily accessible then he’s gonna be also irresponsible with his sexual habits and safety around the house in general.

So to be clear, you’re saying that anyone who has a gun in their nightstand is sexually permissive and doesn’t engage in safe sex. I think the logic fail there is evident.

It all boils down to parenting. Rise your kids to respect guns, and respect moving cars, and all things that might prove hazardous to them.
How do you teach a child that can barely speak in sentences to “respect” a gun? Also, some people love to use these arguments about “good parenting” but not all good parents raise good children and not all bad parents raise bad children. Part of the reason that we have separate courts for crimes committed by children is because most of us realize that children are not mentally capable of fully appreciating the consequences of their actions.

If I’m an irresponisble parent in general my children should be taken away from me, for their safety.
Agreed, although it rarely happens.

The doctors can’t act as protective services police by interrogating about every hazard. If they see tell tale bruises or signs of abuse, then interrogate further.
This all started because a pediatrician asked a simple question and a parent had a nasty attitude in response. The doctor ended the relationship with the parent because he didn’t believe they could work well after that.

Pediatricians ask literally dozens of questions to give safety advice. Everything from patient history to their current living conditions. If this parent didn’t like the questions being asked, she is free to seek out a different pediatrician. Why on earth would we want to criminalize a pediatrician attempting to assist parents in creating a safe environment for children? A lot of young, inexperienced parents NEED this type of advice.

One more thing, to your original point:
It IS a privacy intrusion.
No it isn’t. Questions can never be an invasion of privacy because questions, by their very nature, allow the person asking to maintain their privacy. An invasion of privacy requires an overt action, for example spying on someone or going through their garbage.

No ones privacy was invaded and anyone making such a claim is being either intellectually dishonest or is an idiot.

rww says:

a plug nickel

Doctors are mandatory reporters. They are compelled by federal law to report patients’ use of psychotropic drugs to the feds. Also, they are required to perform initial interviews for abuse scenarios. They are also required to make judgment calls that they may not be totally objective on, especially with regards to children. Hence, it could be deemed inappropriate for a doctor to grill a child for answers regarding their parents possessions or habits. Rather than ask if they have a gun in the home, simply hand them a little cartoon that says guns may be dangerous without proper education – get a responsible adult if you see one in or around your location.

Bryan Price (profile) says:

Sad to say...

but the state I live is screwed as hell. We elect a crook to governor (sorry, if anybody has to claim the 5th Amendment while they’re running, they shouldn’t be running let alone have anybody voter for them even if it’s for dog catcher), who doesn’t know one thing about governor for starters, has even the Republicans in this state wishing they could do a take back of their vote, and will, I’m sure, end in some kind of constitutional crisis.

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