Posted by | May 6, 2011 21:55 | Filed under: Top Stories

A law passed by the Florida legislature and likely to be signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott would make it a crime for doctors to counsel parents about gun safety in the home.

The bill awaits approval from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is known to support gun rights and will likely sign the bill, said Dr. Louis St. Petery, a pediatrician in Tallahassee, Fla., and executive vice president of the Florida Pediatric Society.

“We feel that physicians will be reluctant to ask about guns in the home as a result of this legislation. As a result we expect that, unfortunately, there will be an increase in injury and death of children and adolescents due to improperly stored guns,” St. Petery said. [See Top 10 Leading Causes of Death]

Similar legislation has been proposed in Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama and North Carolina.

Supporters of the Florida bill, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), say they want to stop doctors from invading their privacy, and are concerned the information may be used against them by insurance companies.

Dr. St. Petery is a gun owner who believes it is vital for doctors to be able to ask about gun safety in the home.

If the law passes, parents could report doctors who inquire about gun ownership to the Florida State Medical Board. The board can then impose disciplinary action, which may go as far as taking away the doctor’s license to practice medicine. As a compromise, doctors can ask about gun ownership if they think the child is in imminent danger. But pediatricians say this wording is subject to interpretation, and they object to being penalized for doing something they believe to be in the best interest of the child.

“I would think there should be a law that says if you don’t [council parents about gun safety], that should be malpractice,” said David Hemenway, a professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health who studies injury prevention.

Studies overwhelmingly show that, for the average family, it is better for the health of the children if a gun is not kept in the home, Hemenway said.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.