One Thing to Like About Florida Gag Law

It’s pissing off the right people, and there’s something to be said for that. I will still oppose it on constitutional and civil liberties grounds, but if makes editorial boards of papers like the Boston Globe wet themselves, I’ll still enjoy the spectacle:

But there are good reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics considers inquiries about guns to be important in protecting children. Doctors can advise inexperienced parents on ways that young children might accidentally play with guns, or that older kids might be tempted to use them.

And really, I don’t have a problem if this was all doctors did, provided they also inform the parents about the dangers of bathtubs, swimming pools, and dangerous household chemicals, which kill far more kids accidentally every year than guns do. Homicide is not, and can’t be an excuse for doctors to ask parents about guns, because it will do nothing to prevent or ameliorate that kind of social ill.

Let us also not forget what the American Academy of Pediatrics position is on firearms ownership. It’s not just about advising parents of the dangers, and helping them minimize them. It’s about promoting prohibition, and using their exalted profession to bring down social shame on patients for gun ownership. I don’t agree with this gag law, but consider this a shot across your bow, AAP.

7 thoughts on “One Thing to Like About Florida Gag Law”

  1. I really wish they would open a walmart clinic nearby. It’s cash and carry medical treatment for minor items – which is the only reason would end up at a doctors office.

    I’d just lie and give them a fake name and address and pay cash for my appointment.

  2. Concerning constitutional liberties, I highly doubt anyone would raise an eye if it were made illegal for pediatricians to ask young children if they ever fantasized about sex with pediatricians. It’s only because the subject is guns that this gets attention.

    It’s pretty well established legally that minors do not have the same constitutional rights as adults. They do not have the right to acquire property if that property happens to contain ethyl alcohol; they do not have the right to choose with whom to peaceably assemble unless at least some of the people they assemble with are their parents and guardians; they do not have the right to enter contracts; they do not have the right to privacy (since their parents are required by the state to exercise control over their lives); they are not allowed, at least until the age of 16, to assemble with adults in a romantic manner.

    It also is well established that when adults try to give children these rights, it is the adults who are considered legally liable for the consequences.

    I see no reason why it should not be perfectly legitimate to restrict the rights of minor children to talk about whether their parents exercise the 2nd Amendment, and to make it a criminal offense for adults to try to get them to talk about it.

  3. I still hate the First Amendment infringement that it creates. I think most gun owners can tell their pediatrician that it is not really their business. They can also lie…”What guns? Little Johnny sure does have a vivid imagination, Doc.”

    This gag order just puts gun-advocates on the same level as the anti-gun proponents who do not give a damn about the U.S. Constitution. I know the physicians are being pressured by the AAP to ask and document it, which in turn could be a Fourth Amendment issue if the government uses regulations to either 1) secretly identify, or 2) stigmitize gun owners.

  4. Gun owners can tell their pediatrician that it isn’t his business. However, their children often can’t. Let’s make it legal for pediatricians to ask *only* the parents but not the kid. Think they’d go for that? Not no but hell no.

    Pediatricians have no right to bully small children into revealing their family secrets. EVER. Those who do should be seen as no better than pederasts, and should go to prison like pederasts.

  5. Of course, being a pediatrician in no way qualifies one to give advice on gun safety, any more than it does to give advice on personal finance.

    As Sebastian sorta notes, this is part of the worldview that would entrust our lives to the control of experts, simply due to their titles, as opposed to their qualifications.

  6. I am a US medical student.

    Part of our Foundations of Clinical Medicine course (where they teach you all the physical exams and interviewing as well as first steps in making differential diagnoses) is also asking for the social history of the patient.

    This social history includes everything from alcohol/tobacco/substance abuse, stress, job status, and environment (unsurprisingly includes fire alarms, swimming pools, bathtubs, lead paint, fire extinguishers, child safety seats, railings for the elderly, and yep, firearms)

    We got that social history part drilled into us from the very beginning right after we learned exams and getting a focused complaint.

    I ended up just only asking part of the social history questions during standardized patient encounters and when out with preceptors (we are assigned to physicians in the community for mentorship). I rarely asked about firearms or smoke alarms (or anything else of that history) unless I began to suspect the environment had something to do with the presentation (for example – a kid showing up with stunted growth, abdominal pains, altered sensation, general pallor and fatigue, I could be thinking about lead poisoning)

    And I got an earful of litanies from the evaluators who nitpicked me on social history questions like fire alarms, swimming pools, firearms, etc. I learned very quickly that not all of what they teach us in FCM applies in the real world all the time.

    For the most part, you usually cannot get small children to say anything about “daddy’s/mommy’s gun” because the parents are usually in the room with the kid, and the parent may be contributing the history as well. For an adolescent its a different story.

    I can see the point of this law but it’s a stupid 1st Amendment gag. Unsurprisingly all the collectivists in my class were up in arms about it. Then again, these are the same twits that oppose campus carry and think Obummer is the Chosen One.

  7. If a doc is really worried about it, then why ask the question in the first place? Just assume that everyone does have a swimming pool, firearm, etc. and give out a warning brochure on each subject to every new patient. Problem solved.

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