Bullies With Guns

The NRA hates kids. Discuss.

I heard a story on NPR over the weekend about a new bill that the governor of Florida is about to sign into law. The bill, crafted with the loving collusion of gun lobbyists, would forbid Sunshine State pediatricians from discussing with parents whether those parents own guns and whether they keep them safely stored away from kids.

Why, you may ask, does the NRA care if doctors discuss this with patients? Silly—it’s because asking the new mom and dad sitting in your office whether they own firearms is intrusive, and a violation of that mom and dad’s Second Amendment rights.  And besides, that’s not a doctor’s job. So says pro-gun lobbyist Marion Hammer (of course she’s named Marion Hammer): “We take our children to pediatricians for medical care—not moral judgment, not privacy intrusions,” she told NPR. Because it’s such a moral judgment to inquire if a brand-new parent owns a gun—and not, say, whether he or she owns a car seat, or has a hand-me-down crib that might be unsafe, or smokes cigarettes. The bill is meant to be a blow, Hammer further explained, against “the growing anti-gun agenda being carried out in examination rooms by doctors and staffs.” Oh yeah—that.

Because you know, NRA, what this country really needs is more tragic accidents like this four-year-old in Tacony in March, or this four-year-old in Royersford last August, or this West Oak Lane teen, or any of the other awful, senseless woundings and killings that litter the news. God forbid Florida pediatricians should hurt the feelings of any of the 43 percent of American families that have both children and guns who keep those guns in an unlocked place, without a trigger lock.

Members of Congress routinely rate the NRA as the nation’s most powerful lobby. Shame on those members for caving to its might instead of standing up to gun lobbyists and framing sensible gun-control laws. Shame on Florida governor Rick Scott if he signs this travesty of a bill. Shame on Rick Santorum, while we’re at it, for his career-long pandering to the NRA. And God help the kids in other states where legislation similar to Florida’s bill is being proposed. No other civilized nation in the world runs scared of gun bullies. Shame on us all.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Jenny

    You need to get over yourself lady. Quite frankly it is the predominant illegal activity in this country, primarily of teens, who perpetrate crime and kill others with guns. The overwhelming majority of gun violence is NOT caused by law abiding citizens. And it is high time people like you with control mentalities accept the facts for what they are.

    I would be more worried about the countless youth who are not fed on a regular basis, do not have adequate supervision or care, who repeatedly fall behind in school and are left to fend for themselves if you want an agenda. The Philadelphia School District is LOADED with these children. Focus your energy there! It is a real problem facing our community and it needs immediate attention and intervention.

    Sadly though, your agenda, is to try and distract people from the real problems. The facts are that the state of PA and the federal gov’t have poured tons on money into the schools to have a drop out rate of 50% and graduates who cannot read. So if you want to address gun violence, I would suggest start with educating our youth. Let’s do something about the real problems instead of worrying about the problems in Florida. We have enough going on here and I assure you it is not the legal guns giving us any trouble …

  • Seth

    @ Jenny,
    Angry much ?
    “accept the facts for what they are” ?
    Really ? Where did you get that 50% drop out rate ?
    Just saying
    Typical though from an out of control conservative like yourself.

  • http://gunfreezone.net Miguel

    It is amazing that people will give almost mythical powers to doctors, specially in fields that they are totally unprepared for. Has anybody crying foul point to me when in their instruction do doctors see firearms safety in college? In this era of specialty doctors where the Right Middle Finger doctor will not see your Left Big Toe and refers you to a “proper” specialist, we are to firmly believe that somebody who hasn’t even manipulated a firearm in his life has the absolute power to determine if you are fit to own a firearm. The same way you would not accept gastrointestinal diagnosis from a Firearms instructor, you shouldn’t blindly accept Gun Safety instruction from a pediatrician.

  • ne1

    MIGUEL SAYS: The same way you would not accept gastrointestinal diagnosis from a Firearms instructor, you shouldn’t blindly accept Gun Safety instruction from a pediatrician.

    +1

  • ne1

    Leftist gun-control nuts want to abuse our trust in doctors to create “gun registries” that will be used in future control lobbying efforts. THAT is what this is about. Not safety. Tell your Doctor to mind his own business.

    Gun accidents do not happen when the gun safety rules are followed. What idiots don’t follow them, get Darwin awards. What needs to be done has already been done. Law need be no tougher. They just need to be enforced. Guns need be no safer. The safety rules just need to be followed!

  • Bill R

    There is nobody this woman likes. She is probably more of a nutcase than most of the people and
    organizations she writes about. I’m not a fan of the NRA but she has such a bias on everything she write about..it’s all about her!

  • Chip

    “Members of Congress routinely rate the NRA as the nation’s most powerful lobby.”

    Of course they say that. Nothing like using the imaginary threat of lawfully-owned guns to distract from the oil, corn, banking/finance and military lobbies. Get people riled up about scary guns so they won’t notice the tens of millions going into political pockets in exchange for tens of billions worth of favorable legislation.

    Whether or not doctors can ask parents if they own guns is pretty damn far down the list of Important Things To Worry About. We’ve got two unnecessary and massively expensive wars, crooked politicians, thieving banks, corrupt cops and school/health care/infrastructure systems that are on the verge of complete collapse. Do you really think this complete non-issue is worth writing about?

  • Truth and Freedom

    Doctors, especially pediatricians, should stick to issues related to disease and medicine rather than become enforcers of the Nanny State. As a father, I should not be paying a physician to question my children about wearing bicycle helmets or seat belts, ownership and storage of firearms, and other unrelated matters. Such an inquisition did happen to my children about five years ago and we changed to another pediatrician who does not read from the script provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics that encourages its members to pry into the private lives of their patients.

  • Mark Cofta

    It’s worth writing about because it’s thisclose to becoming a law, which shows how desperate the NRA and its payroll of politicians are to silence any and all rational discussion of firearm danger in this country.

    Legislating what a doctor asks about is absurd; if your doctor asks you any question you find intrusive, politely deflect it and move on. This is called common sense, and requires no law. Apparently, some legislators in Florida have been out in the sun too long.

    • ahorvath

      Mark, I have to laugh at your comments. The NRA desperate? What planet are you living on. In the past 12 months their membership has grown by over 25%. Just since 2009, when Obama became President, the FBI’s NICS background check system has processed over 73,000,000 new gun purchase applications. In the first 11 months of 2013 the NICS background check system processed over 17,000,000 new gun purchase applications. In October, 2013 when the official Obamacare website processed less than 27,000 insurance applications the NICS system processed over 1,689,000 new gun purchase applications for the month. It is the anti gun crowd that is desperate. The gun debate is over and you lost. Now get lost.

  • Mark Cofta

    I’m not sure how one can say that safety is not a medical issue. Really, “Truth and Freedom,” was it an “inquisition” when the doc asked about bike helmets? Is a conversation about your kid’s wellbeing with a medical professional who might have to treat the kid’s injuries really “prying”?

    I’m paying my doc enough (through my premiums, which also cover multi-million-dollar insurance executive salaries) that I’m willing to listen to anything he says in the two minutes he spends with me. Of course, I can also listen to a friend in a polite conversation without feeling paranoid and put-upon if that person has a good idea to share.

    Come on, laws regulating conversations between adults? Isn’t that the sort of government intrusion all you Teabaggers are against?

  • RobD

    Mark, one of the problems with this is that doctors have started including “Do you own a gun” on the questionnaire that otherwise, is solely about health history, allergies, diet, and exercise. These questions are directly related to health and doctor suggestions are useful in these areas.

    Are they next going to start asking, what size television do you have, do you keep large amounts of cash in your house, do you have a surround sound stereo system? Many gun owners do not advertise their owning one because criminals who do not have legal access to guns will attempt to steal them from those who do. An underpaid receptionist (or her boyfriend) now have a list, complete with addresses of people who store guns in their house, and possibly even have their schedules based on when the parents schedule the appointments. My feeling is that someone prying into my life and finding out what possessions I keep in my house are putting me at a greater risk of being robbed.

    There are plenty of other reasons that doctors requiring this question on their standard forms is unethical, but this is a major one for me.

    If a doctor had this on a form for me to fill out, not only would I not inform him of something that is none of his business, but I would find new services elsewhere.

  • Jim March

    Lemme see if I understand. To prevent a tiny number of accidents involving kids, many of those in turn involving guns not legally owned in the first place (gun in a crackhouse or the like), you want to strip millions of people of the basic human right to self defense, ensure more criminal violence, speed the degradation of society including the criminalization of law enforcement PLUS ensure that a basic check on government abuse is eliminated.

    “For the children”? Really? Or for your own biases?

    You want to try and take my guns? You can have ‘em – ammo first.

  • Jenny

    To SETH:

    http://articles.philly.com/2010-09-03/news/24973951_1_task-force-dropout-national-graduation-rate

    The Philadelphia School District ON TIME graduation rate reported in September 2010 for all races was reported at 56%. This rate means that 44% do not gradate on time.

    If you give them an extra 2 years so they can complete high school in 6 years instead of the typical 4, you can up the graduation rate to 63%. Insert eye roll at the needing 2 more years … If they don’t make it in the 4 years, the graduation rate is not met plain and simple. But we like to skew the statistics to make things look better.

    If we break it down by race, well, you probably don’t really want the figures for that because it is very depressing to see the Latino and black statistics. Only 45 percent of African American males graduate and 43 percent of Latino males. And just in case you have some trouble with the math, that is 55% that do NOT graduate and 57% of Latinos that do NOT graduate.

    I don’t make this up sir, your newspaper is filled with the information and the schools are in a rush to push the public to get hot under the collar to force the hand of the governor to give them more money or their abysmal grad rates will drop even more.

    I am not an out of control conservative my friend. I am an active volunteer in our school district trying my best to make a difference and influence those graduation rates that are absolute EMBARRASSMENT in the United States of America. I volunteer 400-500 hours every single year at minimum during the school hours not to mention the hours after school tutoring students who need additional help. And I won’t mention the clothing, books, personal care items, etc that I donate consistently either.

    Just check the link to see the information or do a search. This information is in the news all of the time. We worry too much about nonsense in this country and our goal is to constantly control people. There isn’t focus on what really is the problem.

    Law abiding citizens who own guns are not our problem Seth. Channel some of that desire to control people into the school district and help those children out. They are the people who need our help. And hey, I wonder if we actually teach them something if there would be as much gun violence … hmmm something to think about.

  • jimg9x21

    You forgot to read the whole article. The reason this came up at all is a group of doctors were refusing to treat children who’s parents owned firearms. The doctors in question are opposed to firearms and were letting their political opinions interfer with their duty to care for the child. If they had just done their job in the first place no law would have been needed.

    • ahorvath

      I would refuse to go to a doctor who does not believe in the Bill of Rights.

  • Carl

    It’s my personal responsibility to provide for the safety of my child. Regular checkup at the docs, have them wear helmets, seat belts in the car, eat their veggies, keep my guns safe, AND teach my kids about the dangers of guns if they are mis-used (or, even get rid of my guns if I don’t think I can keep them safely).

    That responsibility does NOT go the other direction. The docs responsibility is to ensure the HEALTH, not the safety of my child. A subtle but important distinction.

    It’s a simple equation that a lot of folks don’t seem to understand. These are the same folks that tend to think the government should provide for them instead of providing for themselves.

    I also agree that this could be used, eventually, for tracking law abiding gun owners. All it would take is one more piece of legislation requiring doctors to report this information to local, state, or federal government.

  • bob

    so what you are trying to say is that if doctors are allowed to ask parents if they own guns and if they are locked up that it would prevent accidents?

    get real.

    maybe if your parents used a condom they would have prevented a accident.

  • Pete

    I’m not a gun person, but I do find the paranoia of gun owners fairly comical.

    There are more legally-registered firearms in this country than there are registered voters (to say nothing of the illegal guns).

    The horse is out of the barn here people. There’s no way that the government will EVER be coming for your guns, and to keep repeating that mantra over and over is ludicrous.

    The fact is, if you own a gun and keep it in your home, you are more likely to have that gun used accidentally (or purposefully) on a member of your own family than a home invader.

    Now, I’m not sure that a doctor should be asking such a question, regardless, but I also don’t think that a doctor would refuse treatment to a patient if he or she refused to answer a non-health related question.

    And, Carl, there already is a way to track law-abiding gun owners…you have to register your weapon if you’re a law-abiding gun owner, don’t you?

    • ahorvath

      More nonsense. There are more gun owners in the US than registered Democrats and many of them are gun owners. The Second Amendment has endured for over 200 years and you don’t have the votes to amend the Constitution. By the way, most States do not require gun registration. Rights should not have to be registered.

  • RobD

    Pete,

    You clearly do not know what you are talking about.

    First, most states do not require gun registration. Period. If you buy your gun from a dealer, there are background checks, but this is not in of itself registration. Also in many states, it is perfectly legal to sell a gun to a private party without registration, just like if you sold your lawnmower to your neighbor.

    I would like to see the source of your information on accidental shootings verses self defense, however, the problem with those numbers does not take into account the MANY times that a person uses a gun in self defense without actually firing it. A mugger or burglar has many a time turned and ran at the sight or sound of a gun, and there simply are not records kept of each instance of this because they are not reported as a shooting would be.

    You say the government would not come to take citizens guns? You don’t read the news around you sir. As recently as Katrina, government authorities came and disarmed law-abiding citizens, because the government felt it was in the best interest of the people. (don’t believe me? google it) So to say ” There’s no way that the government will EVER be coming for your guns, and to keep repeating that mantra over and over is ludicrous,” is flat out wrong, because they have, and they will again.

    And you think a doctor won’t refuse treatment based on personal issues? Some have, and its flat out wrong.

  • Multiple Arms

    Trampling over the people’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense will not make society safe. Enforcing the laws and teaching responsibility is a much better approach.

    Enforce the law and hold people responsible for their actions. If we don’t people like Sandy Hingston will have no problem forcing us to be “safe”.

    Unarmed, you may even “safely” end up raped and robbed and murdered.

  • Carl

    Pete, no you do not. When your purchase a gun from any firearms dealer, you fill out a form (can’t remember the number right now). That form is used by the dealer to run a background check on you. No record of this is kept by the federal government. The form you fill out is kept by the dealer and they are required to keep it on file. If the dealer goes out of business, the forms are to be turned over to the ATF.

    I’m not a big fan of this last part. I think they should be held by someone for a certain amount of time before being destroyed.

    In a private sale, there is zero paperwork required. You can fill out a form and turn it in to the state (at least my state). And it’s probably in your best interest to write up a bill of sale, get a signature, and maybe even a copy of the buyers DL.

    Gun registries in general tend to be the precursor to firearm confiscation. The UK and Australia are great examples of this. Their governments claimed that the registration was just to help out crime. Now YOU are a criminal in those countries if you own a pistol or a semi-automatic rifle (it is quite possibly more strict now).

    If you don’t think that can’t happen in the United States you are a fool. The government wouldn’t go door to door, they’d just ask all law abiding citizens to turn in their guns. And 90% would probably comply. Now, they only have 10% of firearm owners to worry about.

  • Carl

    Ah, form 4473. The firearm dealer is required to keep it on file for 20 years, after which it can be destroyed. The ATF can request the form during the course of a criminal investigation, but it can not be disclosed to any other party or government official. In that sense it’s classified the same as your tax return. -source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_4473

  • Ordinary American

    Shame on you, Sally. Lifestyle biases should be removed from the doctor’s office. The doctor is there to discuss actual health issues. Educating children on firearms safety is an important part of gun ownership, and the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program spearheads this. They’ve been doing it for years. The NRA likes kids and seeks to demystify guns to satisfy the curiosity of small hands.

    Eddie Eagle’s mantra: “If you see a gun, STOP! Don’t touch! Tell an adult!” That sounds like good advice to me. The NRA does not hate kids.

  • ahorvath

    The author just can’t accept the fact that the debate on guns is over and her side lost. There are more gun owners in the US than registered Democrats and many of them are gun owners. Just since 2009, when Obama became President, the FBI’s NICS background check system (yes background checks exist) has processed over 73,000,000 (73 million) new gun purchase background checks. In the first 11 months of 2013 the NICS system processed over 17,000,000 (17 million) new gun purchase background checks. During the month of October, 2013 when the official Obamacare website processed only about 29,000 insurance applications the NICS system processed over 1,689,000 new gun purchase background checks. That is on top of the 200,000,000 guns in private hands as of 2009. Ms. Hingston is on the wrong side of history.