Florida Law will Prohibit Pediatricians from Asking Parents if Guns are Safely Stored

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
(photo: Seattle Weekly)
Republicans in Florida are preparing to adopt a new law forbidding doctors from asking patients if they own guns.
Representing the first of its kind, the legislation is directed primarily at pediatricians, who routinely ask new parents if they have guns at home and if they’re stored safely.
Pediatricians say they ask about guns in homes in order to prevent accidental injuries. But the National Rifle Association (NRA) thinks doctors have a political agenda.
“This bill is about helping families who are complaining about being questioned about gun ownership, and the growing anti-gun political agenda being carried out in examination rooms by doctors and staffs,” NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told NPR.
Republican lawmakers did agree to one exception in the bill at the request of the Florida Medical Association—to permit doctors to ask questions about guns in cases where they feel it’s directly relevant to the patient’s care. For example, doctors would be allowed to broach the gun question when helping suicidal teens.
But the exception may not allow a physician to legally ask about guns with patients who have been bullied or may be considering violence towards others.
The bill has passed both house of Florida’s legislature and has gone to Governor Rick Scott to be signed.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Florida Bill Could Muzzle Doctors on Gun Safety (by Greg Allen, Weekend Edition-NPR)


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