Senate Committee Takes Up A Bill That Aims To Fine Doctors Up To $100,000 If They Ask Patients About Guns

Somewhere between two abortion bills and anti pill mill legislation, the Senate Health Regulation Committee, later today, will take up a proposed law that prohibits doctors from asking their patients about gun ownership and could fine them up to $100,000 if they do so. The bizarre piece of legislation passed through the Senate Criminal Justice Committee back in February.

The bill has scored a few notable moments in the news media, like when CNN's Anderson Cooper called co-sponsor Rep. Frank Artiles, "adamantly inaccurate" on his show. Or better yet, when a St. Petersburg Times reporter exposed that the lawmaker who introduced the bill falsely claimed it was a reaction to federal health care reform, and in turn misled the public about that law.

But a March 20 op-ed in the Miami Herald by Judy Schaechter, a Miami pediatrician  pushed aside political misinformation and gives a few basic reasons why a doctor would ask about guns. It's a compelling piece and worth a full read, but I was particularly interested in this passage.

I ask because even responsible parents may underestimate risk.

They may not realize what I know: that even toddlers can get "up high" to where that gun is and  while research has shown that many parents think their children do not know there is a gun in the house, their own children know exactly where it is. 


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