In a January 26th editorial at NewsChief.com titled, "Florida Doctor Restriction: Guns And Health", the editorial staff ridicules the Florida legislature for enacting what they refer to as "ill-conceived laws involving guns" and cites the so-called "Docs vs. Glocks" law as a prime example. This law, Florida Statute 790.338, was thrown out by a federal judge in July, but is being appealed by the State. As is true with so many anti-gun editorials and articles, the uninformed NewsChief.com editorial board has swallowed the disinformation campaign orchestrated by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
Quoting the editorial-
"The American Medical Association encourages its members to ask parents about guns and educate them about safe storage. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a similar recommendation. One in five deaths among people under 20 years old was caused by a firearm-related injury, states the academy's research."
Now why would an association representing pediatricians include 18 and 19 year old adults in their data? The answer becomes clear when we look at the CDC WISQARS database. In 2010, the last year for which the CDC has available data, we find that there were a total of 1,337 firearms deaths of children ages 0 - 17, including suicides, homicides, and unintentional acts. However, by simply including adults aged 18 and 19, the total firearms deaths more than double to 2,711, thus providing the AAP with their emotionally-charged argument of 1 in 5 "children" dying as a result of firearms.
Given that apparent subterfuge, let's now examine the AMA's motives of educating parents about safe storage of firearms.
Safe storage counseling by doctors is unlikely to prevent intentional deaths, such as suicide and homicide. A person intent on killing either themselves or another simply chooses another method of accomplishing that goal, leaving unintentional deaths as the only likely category which might show a possible reduction from such counseling. Again, referring to the 2010 CDC WISQARS data, we find a nationwide total of 98 unintentional firearms deaths of children ages 17 or under, less than 2 per state per year. Of course, this small figure cannot possibly engender the extreme emotional response the medical community desires, nor does it adequately demonstrate the highly-touted "public health epidemic" they claim.
And what of the safe storage counseling itself? Given that no medical degree course includes firearms safety training, the "guidance" is provided not from the National Rifle Association, undeniably the largest firearms safety training organization in the world, but from the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and similar groups whose sole purpose is to destroy the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms through whatever means they can. No firearms instructor or range safety officer would not take it upon themselves to counsel someone on a medical issue, but it appears that neither the AAP nor AMA have any such ethical boundary. Even so, you will find nowhere in the Firearm Owners' Privacy Act is doctor counseling on firearms safety forbidden, only that doctors may not ASK about one's personal firearms ownership nor make a record of such ownership, unless that question is directly related to the patient's condition or reason for visit. So again, one must question the motives of the AAP/AMA. Is it to impart advice or to collect intelligence?
The NewsChief.com editorial mentions the single case in Ocala of the mother who objected to the pediatrician asking about guns in the household, but fails to mention two other, more intrusive cases. A mother in Uxbridge, MA took her daughter to a pediatrician for a scheduled routine physical. During the examination, the doctor asked the child if her daddy owned guns. The mother, who was present in the exam room, immediately objected to the question. The doctor took offense and discharged them immediately, telling them never to return, just like the Ocala case. However, the mother later found out from a friend who worked in the local police department that the doctor had called the police to report the family's totally legal gun ownership in an apparent attempt to exact some sort of retaliation.
And just recently, a January 23rd article in the Chicago Tribune detailed the story of an Oak Lawn, IL mother who took her 16-year old son to see a doctor for a tonsil problem. During the course of the exam the doctor, accompanied by two medical students taking notes, asked the mother to leave the room. The mother assumed it was so the doctor could speak with her son about a sexual topic and complied so as not to embarrass the boy. Later that day, her son told her that the doctor had in fact asked him if there were any guns in the home.
Quoting from the article-
She said she would have understood a gun-related question if her son was being treated for mental or emotional issues. But he doesn't have those issues and has never been treated for them, she said. "He wasn't there for psychiatric reasons," she said. "He wasn't suicidal. HE WAS THERE FOR AN INFECTED TONSIL!"
If the question of firearms ownership is a legitimate medical query, why are doctors now stooping to subterfuge in order to interrogate minors not in the presence of their parents?
According to the mother, the doctor told her the staff began asking such questions in October. This apparently follows a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published Oct. 18 recommending that pediatricians ask gun questions as part of patient history.
Patient history requires written or electronically created patient records. Any list of patients who own firearms is a de facto owner list.
Florida Statute 790.335 states-
"No state governmental agency or local government, special district, or other political subdivision or official, agent, or employee of such state or other governmental entity or any other person, public or private, shall knowingly and willfully keep or cause to be kept any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearms or any list, record, or registry of the owners of those firearms. Any person who, or entity that, violates a provision of this section commits a felony of the third degree."
Everyone, doctors included, is subject to this statute and its penalties regardless of whether or not the constitutionality of the Firearm Owners' Privacy Act is upheld or rejected on appeal. Given the potential individual liability under the this statute, doctors would be well advised to immediately cease the practice of interrogating patients based on the misguidance of the AAP/AMA, .