If Florida Gov Signs bill, Doctors won't be able to grill patients about gun ownership

I have run into these types of doctors myself in the past. My book The Bias Against Guns has a discussion of what happened when I took some of my kids to the medical clinic at Yale University. Michael Graham has a similar story here.

With a stroke of the governor's pen, Florida is positioned to become the first state in the nation to prohibit physicians from asking patients if they have guns in their homes, a move some doctors say will interfere with health care.
The Florida Senate passed House Bill 155 last month by a 27-10 vote and the measure now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Rick Scott. If signed, it would ban doctors from asking about the presence of guns or ammunition in the home.
Republican State Rep. Jason Brodeur, a sponsor of the bill, proposed the legislation following an incident in which a Florida pediatrician told a mother to find another doctor when she refused to answer questions about guns in her home.
Supporters of the legislation, including the National Rifle Association, say they're seeking to stop doctors from invading their privacy. Critics of the bill, however, claim that doctors need to ask patients about guns to ensure their safety and to make sure they remain out of the reach of children.
"The [bill], if enacted, would limit pediatricians’ capacity to do what they do best -- compassionately and effectively care for children," read a March 30 statement released by The American Academy of Pediatrics. "Because unintentional injuries continue to be the leading cause of death in children older than 1 year, pediatricians play a key role in injury prevention by providing anticipatory guidance to parents during office visits to help minimize the risk of injury in the child’s everyday environment." . . .

A copy of the law is available here. Note that other states first tried to force doctors to ask patients about gun ownership.

Here is what I wrote on this topic a few years ago. Given the costs of gunlocks, there isn't much of a problem to solve in Florida or other states.

Here are what doctors are saying about the law.

The American Academy of Pediatrics' position on firearm-related injuries states "the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries" to them.
Timothy Wheeler, a retired surgeon in Upland, Calif., founder and director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, cites the position statement as proof that pediatricians want to ban firearms. Pediatric residents "think it's normal to ask about guns in the home," he says. "They don't understand that it is an ethical boundary violation."
Louis St. Petery, a Tallahassee pediatric cardiologist and executive vice president of the Florida Pediatric Society, says prevention, not politics, drives children's doctors to inquire about firearms. . . .

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Blogger Chas said...

When it comes to a doctor grilling a child about her parents' gun ownership, so she can file a police report against the gun owners in an effort to force her political views on them by stripping them of their guns, a hoplophobic, anti-gun rights activist with an M.D. should have a legal sock stuffed in her mouth or lose her license to practice medicine.
The right to keep and bear arms has become so tenuous in some places that a license that is required to merely possess one's guns can be revoked on the basis of any such "complaint", particularly if it's from someone with the credibility of a doctor.
The spitefulness of the anti-gun rights crowd against individual gun owners is a matter of record, therefore the right of the people to keep and bear arms requires legal protection in such circumstances.
Gun owners actually merit much broader legal protection of their rights, but in this case the aggression of the anti’s is so egregious that it’s a matter of common sense to provide legal protection. We need to live in a civilized and polite society where these outrageous, leftist ambushes against our rights are illegal.
It's a license to practice medicine, not a license to practice socialism!

5/14/2011 7:06 AM  
Blogger John A said...

I do not agree with either type of law.

If a doctor has a stuffed swordfish on the office wall, I would not be surprised or particularly offended by a question about whether I fish. Similarly, a mounted Revolutionary War long gun, or certificate of NRA membership, would make it natural to mention firearms. Making it illegal is going overboard.

Absent any such clue I might womder, and context or attitude might well make questions offensive. But I would feel quite able to refuse, or to walk out and possibly register a complaint. But again, a law prohibiting it is excessive to say the least, with the possible exception of questioning of an unaccompanied minor: even law officers may not freely engage in such.

5/14/2011 5:54 PM  

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