Pediatricians And Anti-Gun Bias
By Shari Spivack – NJ2AS Board Member
New Jersey –-(Ammoland.com)- Some Pediatricians are saying that when I bring my children in for a routine medical visit they need to question me about my personal property – specifically whether I have any guns in my home.
According to the doctors they don’t want my child to become a statistic and my handgun is at the top of their list of dangerous items that they insist must be removed from my home in order to accomplish that goal.
The Governor of Florida passed a law this past June, making it illegal for doctors to question parents or children on the presence of firearms in the home as a standard of care. For example, have you started solid foods yet, does your baby sleep through the night and oh by the way, do you have any firearms in your home?
The American Academy of Pediatrics will drown you in statistics of people injured in gun related “incidents” which they use to point to how dangerous guns, particularly handguns, can be. However, a percentage of these statistics surely includes death or injury encountered by the very people who initiated these crimes and were fought off by their intended victims. And what about all the lives that have been saved by guns, children’s lives, due to the presence of a defensive gun in the home.
The public will never hear about this because it is impossible to measure the positive effect of gun ownership. Even if it was possible, the media is not interested in reporting it for a variety of reasons. As it has been stated before, crime prevented is a statistic that does not exist. But just for a minute, consider how many children were spared kidnapping or torturous acts simply because their parents had the means to fight off an attacker and the willingness to do so.
Pediatricians are ignoring the long and positive history of gun ownership in this country (just visit the National Firearms Museum in Virginia for proof.) The reason is that it just does not fit their agenda, which is to have handguns banned. This goal has in the past been openly stated on the AAP website (American Academy of Pediatrics). Despite what they are saying, gun safety education is not the end goal for their patients, it is just an interim way to open up the controversial topic of gun ownership and push their own political agenda. If educating their patients about gun safety is a goal for pediatricians then why not stand behind gun safety programs in schools for all children?
That would surely be a positive step towards saving lives and it does not invade anyone’s privacy.
Of course, there is no lobby or political controversy surrounding regulation of swimming pools or the depth of water allowed in bathtubs or even where parents are storing cutlery or power tools in their homes. There also is no right granted to the people of this country in the US constitution to own any of these items, as there is for firearms in the Second Amendment. There are many household items that can be dangerous when children are not being given the proper supervision. In fact a recent study shows that accidents related to firearms in the home occur at extremely low rates compared to incidents like drowning, poisoning, and serious falls. To see long list of potentially hazardous household items, visit the Second Amendment Sisters website ( see below or http://www.2asisters.org/PhysicianAffidavit.pdf) for a nice affidavit you can ask your doctor to sign if questioned about gun ownership.
It should also be noted that while the Florida law prohibits pediatricians from asking about guns in the home as a standard practice of care – it does not prohibit asking about guns when it is of a relevant nature to the medical care of the presenting patient. As a social worker, I understand this distinction and the doctors should too. If they feel a patient is at risk they are not tongue tied. If parents have a history of neglectful behavior or openly suicidal patients are residents of the home, then no one is saying questions can’t be asked.
The non specific type of questioning can also have a negative effect on the ever developing doctor patient relationship. There have been cases of patients who were questioned by a doctor about gun ownership and refused to answer based on privacy. They have been told to leave the office (and billed for the visit). In order to practice good medical care, pediatricians need to have good reporting from parents on the physical state of their children. If parents feel they may be judged by their child’s doctor, they might not share all important medical information and this without question will have a direct effect on health care.
I chose my pediatrician based on how effective I thought she would be when counseling me on medical issues. I will always be the primary advocate in receiving good medical care for my children and the doctor I choose is first and foremost a facilitator in this goal. I am not looking for a mentor or a friend or a teacher, a doctor is not all knowing and a good relationship with a family develops over time. If I want expert advice on storing firearms, I will go to an expert in this area (I happen to be a firearms instructor so on this one I am covered.) In fact, I respect a doctor more who knows his or her limitations when it comes to offering advice on topics they do not understand and who is willing to defer to a parent on issues of care that are well within the scope and ability of people who have chosen to raise children. I don’t want my attorney husband writing prescriptions for antibiotics and I don’t want my doctor telling me how to store my guns.
After working in an inner city hospital and counseling families with children at risk, I can say with certainty that the guns that were present in the homes of these children would not have been discovered through the routine questioning pediatricians are now advocating. These guns were brought into children’s homes by boyfriends and simply left there until they were brought to the hospital by the mothers. These illegal guns will not disappear even if the goal of the American Academy of Pediatrics is to remove handguns from the homes of every law abiding citizen. No one is arguing against saving the lives of innocent children or doing everything in our power to see our youth reach adulthood. But the doctors aren’t fooling anyone here. Routine questioning of parents about guns stored in the home is (at minimum) not the answer. There is far more work to be done to save the next generation and it serves no purpose for pediatricians to alienate the very people who can be a true partner.
Shari Spivack is a firearms instructor, wife and mother, and a woman who believes in the right to keep and bear arms for legitimate purposes. Shari is also a Board Member and Officer of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.
New Jersey Second Amendment Society – Our mission is to promote the free exercise of Second Amendment rights within the community and Legislature of New Jersey, to educate the community regarding the enjoyable, safe, and responsible use of firearms, and to engender a sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the members and their families. Visit: www.nj2as.com