While some parents may wish they could put a muzzle on a pediatrician that offers advice that isn't very helpful, such as telling you to supplement your breastfeeding baby when he is nursing well, or moving your toddler to his own bed, when everyone is happy co-sleeping, is it really a good idea for the government to be able to tell your pediatrician what he can say?
There are typically 1 to 2 unintentional firearm deaths in children each week in the United States. The latest was a 2-year-old near Fresno, California who found a loaded, semi-automatic handgun under the bed (one of 53 guns found in the home), walked into a bedroom with the gun, when it fired, striking and killing his 6-year-old sister.
That's the motivation pediatricians have when they ask a parent if they have guns.
Pediatricians ask about guns and offer advice that parents lock up any guns in the home so that kids can be safe from those guns.
Although the original version of this law called for jail time, the current version has penalties of up to $10,000 and can still have a pediatrician losing his or her medical license if they ask about guns in a situation that is later not found to be relevant to the child's safety or if it was determined to be in a harassing manner.
Not surprising, the AAP and most other medical organizations were against the law, but their opposition was not enough to overcome an action alert from the NRA that encouraged Gov. Scott to sign the law.
What's the NRA's concern? The gist of it is that 'Horrified parents have described nurses entering the answers to gun questions into laptop computers to become a part of medical records. They have become concerned about whether those records can be used by the government or by insurance companies to deny health care coverage because a family exercises a civil right in owning firearms.'
Pediatricians and parents don't always see eye to eye on every issue. That your doctor should be able to talk to you about guns and gun safety is something that few parents are against, even those who have guns.
Even as lawsuits are about to be filed against the Florida Gun Law, bills are being proposed in several other states to introduce similar measures.
About 40 percent of families store their guns unlocked and 25% of them have unsecured, loaded guns in the home, even though they have kids. Advising parents to securely store those guns, unloaded, with the ammunition stored in a separate, locked area, is an important way to stop unintentional shooting deaths, which are all to common for kids.
If you agree, tell the Florida what you think about their new law and let your own representatives know that you don't want to see any similar laws in your state.
Rick Scott Signs Controversial Anti-Pediatrician Gun Law
Vincent Iannelli, MD
About.com Guide to Pediatrics
When a parent knows enough about gun safety to leave a loaded gun in a place easily accessible to a two year old, well I'd rather hear what the doctor has to say since he/she is more likely to see the actual dangers involved in not storing guns safely.
Despite popular belief, doctors are not idiots and they do learn a thing or two at medical school, and in the rest of what they do as well.
If it looks like I'm trying to pick a fight... I'm not, I'm rarely that obvious.