Sunday, February 26, 2006

Grab Your Gun.....
From The Virginian-Pilot:Bill would bar doctors from asking about guns:
A pediatrician who asks a child's parent about firearms in their home could lose his or her license or be disciplined under legislation being considered by a Senate committee today.

The bill would prohibit health care professionals from asking a patient about gun possession, ownership or storage unless the patient is being treated for an injury related to guns or asks for safety counseling about them.

The legislation is opposed by The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics because it blocks a common practice by medical professionals to inquire about gun ownership and safety when they go over a safety checklist with parents during a child's regular checkups from birth to puberty.

"We saw the bill but presumed no one in their right mind would put it through," said Dr. Leslie Ellwood, chapter president. "We thought it was such an unusual bill that anyone with common sense wouldn't pass it."

The NRA supports the bill:
The National Rifle Association supports the bill because it will protect gun owners "from intrusive, unnecessary questions from medical professionals," according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Web site.
Dr. Parker has to call "b.s." on this one. All one would have to say is "it's none of your business". But the NRA is not the only one that is setting off the BS alarm:
"We don't have an opinion or issue an opinion on guns," Ellwood said. "We don't say it is a bad thing to have around children. Our plan is always to find out how the guns are managed in the household so they are safe."
Apparently Dr. Ellwood doesn't read the position papers put out by her national organization. From the American Academy of Pediatrics:AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population .
The AAP makes the following recommendations, which reaffirm and expand on the 1992 policy statement:
1. The AAP affirms that the most effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.
a) Firearm regulation, to include bans of handguns and assault weapons, is the most effective way to reduce firearm-related injuries.

b) Pediatricians and other child health care professionals are urged to inform parents about the dangers of guns in and outside the home. The AAP recommends that pediatricians incorporate questions about guns into their patient history taking and urge parents who possess guns to remove them, especially handguns, from the home. Loaded firearms and unlocked firearms and ammunition represent a serious danger to children and adolescents. At especially high risk are adolescents who have a history of aggressive and violent behaviors, suicide attempts, or depression
emphasis mine.
Like many of us Dr. Ellwood may be the belong to a national group that does not necessarily share her outlook on such things. Now while the AAP has recommendations about water safety, they do not advocate banning swimming pools, bath tubs, or five-gallon buckets. This despite the fact that in 2003 there were about eight times as many accidental deaths from drowning than from firearms in the population aged 1 to 18.
H/T Volokh.
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