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May 13, 2011 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Do doctors violate the 2nd Amendment when they ask their patients if they own guns? May the government force doctors to stop asking that without violating the 1st Amendment?
posted by steambadger (151 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
No.

No.

Next question?
posted by LogicalDash at 8:26 AM on May 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Only in America.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:26 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously, there are lawmakers out there that think the reason doctors ask about guns in the house is to forward a political agenda? Man, there are some stupid people in Florida.
posted by docjohn at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2011


But what can I do to avoid this terrible future of manacled slave-doctors stealing my guns?
posted by theodolite at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2011 [33 favorites]


Isn't it tantamount to slavery to tell doctors what to to tell (or not tell) their patients?
posted by muddgirl at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't really get this. So what if the doctor asks? You could easily answer "no".

And doctors might as well just run the firearms safety speech every time. At least 38% of households own guns anyway, according to this survey.
posted by Harald74 at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2011


First link is supposed to go to USA Today, right?

That said - how dare those doctors encourage gun safety! I can't believe they'd judge me just for leaving guns lying on the floor everywhere!
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2011


Shouldn't the free market take care of this? Dr. Bob's Vaccinations and shooting range: No judgement here!
posted by ghharr at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2011


Lets check that 'ol Second Amendment again and see if we can find conflict between that and doctors asking question related to preventative care,

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Really my question is why the NRA feels gun safety is so unimportant that we shouldn't have doctors asking about it and making sure parents are informed.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Linking through the Google result links seems like bad form to me. Also, I don't understand what I'm supposed to be reading at the first link.

To answer the questions 1) No. 2) Probably, sadly (if we extend restrictions states have placed on doctors with regards to abortion and some other issues).

But, yeah, just don't answer/lie to a doctor about something you don't want them to know (pot use, owning guns, etc).
posted by skynxnex at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2011


We take our children to pediatricians for medical care — not moral judgment, not privacy intrusions.

- Marion Hammer, NRA lobbyist


Ultrasensitive/sociopathic people of America: kids can blow their fucking heads off with unsecured guns very, very easily. Blowing off one's head, and other accidental injuries resulting from negligent discharge, are unfortunately not uncommon in gun-owning households, and definitely within the purview of medicine. Just like how asking someone if they engage in any potentially hazardous behavior is.
posted by clockzero at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Man, there are some stupid people in Florida.

(disciplining self not to go down the hanging chad route)
Only in Florida?

"Although Florida's Legislature is the first to approve the measure, it's also being considered in other states, including North Carolina and Alabama."
posted by likeso at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


A doctor in private practice is not a state actor, therefore there is no Second Amendment violation. End of story.

A content specific gag rule on private speech between private doctors and their patients is a violation of the First Amendment. End of story.
posted by epsilon at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2011 [30 favorites]


When I adopted my dog from the SPCA, I had to fill out a questionnaire. They asked me what what kind of income I made, what my yard looked like, whether I had experience raising pets, how high my fence was, and how much time I had for walks, etc.

I think that a similar form should be given to pregnant mothers. One of the questions can be "Do you own a firearm(s)?"
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:38 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Really my question is why the NRA feels gun safety is so unimportant that we shouldn't have doctors asking about it and making sure parents are informed.

Because it says "Well regulated" which means you can't have any rules at all.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]



Few of those who voted in favor of the bill spoke out, either in committee or on the floor. One who did was state Sen. Alan Hays, a retired dentist from Central Florida.

"It's none of my business what kind of weapons, if any weapons, you have in your home," he said. "When you come to see me, or you bring one of your children to see me, my obligation is to find out what medical things are pertinent to your particular situation."


Did anybody else notice that the supportive doctor they quoted is a dentist?
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:41 AM on May 13, 2011


1ST AMENDMENT
...........vs..........
2ND AMENDMENT

FIGHT!
posted by saturday_morning at 8:42 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


But a dentist to the stars.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:42 AM on May 13, 2011


Stagger Lee: "Did anybody else notice that the supportive doctor they quoted is a dentist?"

Huh? They don't claim he's a supportive doctor. He's one of the legislators who voted in favor of the bill.
posted by Perplexity at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2011


"When you come to see me, or you bring one of your children to see me, my obligation is to find out what medical things are pertinent to your particular situation."

Because you treat TEETH, dumbass. Or does Florida have an epidemic of people trying to shoot their toothaches to make them better, such that gun ownership would be relevant to dental treatment?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


A few honest questions for the NRA: How many children die each year of gunshot wounds in households that contain one or more guns? How many children die each year of gunshot wounds in households containing no guns? Which of these situations, mathematically speaking, poses a higher risk to children of death by gunshot wound?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My doctor asked me if I saw something on television! Somebody DO SOMETHING!!!
posted by orme at 8:46 AM on May 13, 2011


So, just to be clear... it's fine to legally require that Doctors show their patients movies of fetuses before they can get an abortion. But if the same doctor asks whether the parents have unsafe guns lying around the house it's a violation of privacy.

I'm normally a big critic of the 'Conservatives only care about people until they're born' meme, but moments like this make it hard to maintain a balanced reaction.
posted by verb at 8:47 AM on May 13, 2011 [30 favorites]


I don't even understand this controversy on a basic level. The only correct answer to this question seems to be "None of your business".
posted by sanka at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fine by me. Go earn your Darwin Awards.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2011


I think it's fine and makes total sense to ask about guns in the home IF they also ask about Doritos, Little Debbie cakes, dirt bikes, regular bikes, trees tall enough to climb, heavy objects placed on tall shelf, frayed electrical cords, and drowning hazards.

Seriously.

Then again it isn't a big deal until the parents/patients are being REQUIRED to answer the questions. Doctors can ask whatever they damn well please and the clients are free to seek another doctor. (please no health care derail here).
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


What sanka said.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2011


Why does this not have a Florida tag?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2011


I keep my guns in a nice safe pile over in the corner behind the recliner. But sometimes my wife will be using a gun and she'll just leave it out, on like the coffeetable or something, and I'm like 'Dammit, honey! Gun pile!'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2011 [21 favorites]


"does Florida have an epidemic of people trying to shoot their toothaches to make them better"

It's Florida. I wouldn't rule that out.
posted by oddman at 8:52 AM on May 13, 2011


Here's the bill [pdf]. It's written with very weasily language, e.g.:

"A health care practitioner ... may not intentionally enter any disclosed information concerning firearm ownership into the patient's medical record if the practitioner knows that such information is not relevant to the patient's medical care or safety, or the safety of others." (emphasis added)

Throughout the bill there are exceptions for when the information is medically relevant or when the health care practitioner has a good faith belief that it's relevant. I still don't think the bill passes constitutional muster, but whoever drafted it wasn't a total idiot.

If I were the one writing it, I would have made the restriction conditional on receiving state Medicaid funds or other state money. That wouldn't affect every doctor, but it would get a pretty broad swath.
posted by jedicus at 8:53 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's fine and makes total sense to ask about guns in the home IF they also ask about Doritos, Little Debbie cakes, dirt bikes, regular bikes, trees tall enough to climb, heavy objects placed on tall shelf, frayed electrical cords, and drowning hazards.
My doctor asks about my diet and exercise habits. Last time I went in, I told him I rode my bike for transportation, and he asked me if I used a helmet. I refrained from explaining that there was controversy about whether bike helmets were really effective and instead said "yes," which is true most of the time. I also routinely get asked questions designed to screen for domestic violence and substance abuse.

So yeah. Doctors ask about a lot of things. I can't see any reason that gun safety shouldn't be one of them.
posted by craichead at 8:56 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


They are writing in an exemption about how a doctor can ask if it's medically relevant, like if the patient is suffering from depression or suicidal ideation.

If I were a doctor I'd love this law. I'd keep asking the question, and any patient that decided to call the law down on me is welcome to get care elsewhere.

I'd then defend myself with the fact that the question is medically relevant. Like asking if you have a home pool or dangerous chemicals in the house. If asking if there is gun ownership isn't in this same category I don't know what is. All three are fine if handled safely.

Again, if questioned I'd be all "Who has the medical degree here?" I think a doctor is more qualified to decide what is medically relevant than a body of legislators. When will people learn this? If you don't like the questions your doctor asks, get a different doctor. If they all ask the same questions ask yourself if maybe it's time to evaluate your position. Or take your unvaccinated kid home and show him how to play with a gun.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:58 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


if the practitioner knows that such information is not relevant to the patient's medical care or safety, or the safety of others

How would a doctor know if gun ownership is relevant to the patient's safety or the safety of others, unless they first determine whether the patient owns a gun?
posted by muddgirl at 8:59 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, there goes big government, interfering with the patient-doctor relationship again...
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:59 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


@craichead

Maybe I was unclear in my tone, but when I said "Seriously." I meant it. Really, I consider those things to be all on an equal relevancy level between you and your doctor. Guns vs. bike helmets is a great example. ...and if you don't like it, you're welcome to find another Dr.

However, when/if this information is recorded and used for other means (I'm just fishing here, didn't really look deeply into the issue) that's getting a bit scary. Again, just speculating. As long as there's a "None of your business" column that's ok too.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:00 AM on May 13, 2011


I do think it is time the Red States secede. They can take their guns and high rates of domestic violence, alcoholism, obesity, divorce, church attendance poverty, heart disease, smoking and their low rates of educational achievement, life expectancy and support themselves. The time for large federal transfers of wealth to the south is up--perhaps we can balance the federal budget by axing some states. I don't in anyway assume the rest of us are saints but the hypocrisy and sanctimonious rambling of some southern leaders and residents is simply mind boggling. Sorry for smearing a wide swath of the country but the mere fact that this legislation was even considered, let alone passed, is stupefying.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:01 AM on May 13, 2011


I think it's fine and makes total sense to ask about guns in the home IF they also ask about Doritos, Little Debbie cakes, dirt bikes, regular bikes, trees tall enough to climb, heavy objects placed on tall shelf, frayed electrical cords, and drowning hazards.'

My understanding is that the bill is a response to the American Academy of Pediatrics policy that pediatricians should inquire about gun ownership when advising new and expecting parents on child health and safety. Those same doctors also ask about nutrition, diet, vehicle safety and other important stuff as is age appropriate. I don't think that gun ownership is per se irresponsible, but like car ownership it presents risks which one must be especially careful to mitigate or eliminate where children are involved and doctors are excellent authoritative voices for proactive risk management.
posted by epsilon at 9:03 AM on May 13, 2011


Don't forget their high rates of falling out of trees, rmhsinc.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:03 AM on May 13, 2011


However, when/if this information is recorded and used for other means

Umm... we're talking about a HIPAA violation here, right? We're asking if we should be concerned that doctors are violating HIPAA to reveal to the government who owns guns?

And not, you know, lists of people who do illegal things like smoke weed or shoot heroin?
posted by muddgirl at 9:03 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


To paraphrase Dan Savage (something I'm rarely prone to do on issues not involving whether or not you should give a blow job to the guy down the hall), if these people are so sensitive that they can't handle it when their doctors ask them about their gun ownership, they are really going to lose their shit if their kids accidentally shoot themselves.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Accidental child gun deaths are uncommon, but almost completely preventable. It's worth remembering that the rate of accidental child gun injury has declined quite bit in recent decades, and part of that has been the push to get parents to take basic safe storage measures that they might not think about before they have children. Pediatricians are a decent set of people to remind parents, since they talk to them anyway.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not opining on whether it is right or wrong, but I think what has the NRA's dander up here is that they're scared of this becoming a "backdoor gun registration" mechanism.

Consider what your reaction might be to the following questions from a doctor while he or she taps away on a keyboard:

"Are there any recreational drugs in your home that your children could potentially come in contact with?"

"Are there any residents or regular visitors in your home who profess radical political, religious or anti-government beliefs?"
posted by de void at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I disclose a whole ton of things to my doctors that I'd really not want other people to know. If I were concerned about my doctor violating my privacy, I think that legal gun ownership would be the least of my worries.
posted by craichead at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think it's fine and makes total sense to ask about guns in the home IF they also ask about Doritos, Little Debbie cakes, dirt bikes, regular bikes, trees tall enough to climb, heavy objects placed on tall shelf, frayed electrical cords, and drowning hazards.

They do. That's the point. They ask if you have a pool, a trampoline, unsecured chemical cabinets, bike riding without helmets, car seats, etc. And in that ect. is gun ownership, because for better or worse kids shoot themselves (or others because) they are ignorant and parents incorrectly secure firearms. Sure, ignorance can be cured with maturity, education, and familiarity, but until that happens it's nice to ask the questions that will insure your kid gets to live that long.

Unlike Doritos and Little Debbie cakes a doctor can't tell at a glance if the parent is being stupid with firearms. If little Suzy weighs 200 pounds you can bet he'll be looking into why. If she comes in with broken bones on a regular basis he's going to look into why (and ask even more invasive questions).

Again, in my opinion I think I'd rather trust a doctor to decide what is medically relevant. It's no different than a doctor asking if you engage in risky sexual behavior. You're perfectly welcome to tell him "None of your business," but I would argue that this is far from the correct answer.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:06 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the most illustrative answer to the "Is freedom-killing socialist government intrusion taking away my Charlton-Heston-given right to own and use firearms" question is supplied by the case of the Neo-Nazi potentate in Southern California who was shot in the head and killed by his own 10-year-old son this past week.

I do think it is time the Red States secede. They can take their guns and high rates of domestic violence, alcoholism, obesity, divorce, church attendance poverty, heart disease, smoking and their low rates of educational achievement, life expectancy and support themselves.

I live in a "Red State" and fit none of those criteria. Please trot your tired "let the red states secede" trope, overstuffed with stereotypes, smugness, and cant, somewhere else. People on mefi who say "let 'em secede" love saying it and aren't sorry for a second of it.
posted by blucevalo at 9:08 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"What kind of sissies live in Florida that if their doctor ‘harasses’ them about guns they need a law affecting all doctors in their state so they don’t have to say ‘none of ya beezwax’?"
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not opining on whether it is right or wrong, but I think what has the NRA's dander up here is that they're scared of this becoming a "backdoor gun registration" mechanism.

As muddgirl mentioned, that's simply not possible under HIPAA. And it would be an absolutely crap way to go about it anyway, since it would miss all the gun owners who don't go to doctors on a regular basis, or only go to a doctor who doesn't ask those kinds of questions, or who, you know, just lie about it.

"Are there any recreational drugs in your home that your children could potentially come in contact with?"

A doctor may very well ask a question like that, and it would be appropriate to do so, just like advising parents to keep the liquor cabinet locked.
posted by jedicus at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2011


but I think what has the NRA's dander up here is that they're scared of this becoming a "backdoor gun registration" mechanism.

So again, we are talking about whether or not we trust doctors not to violate HIPAA.

If you don't trust that your doctor will follow federal laws, why do you think s/he would follow state laws like the one under discussion?
posted by muddgirl at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


1ST AMENDMENT
...........vs..........
2ND AMENDMENT

FIGHT!


Capitoldome: Two amendments enter, one amendment leaves.
posted by aught at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, I am genuinely confused, now. How exactly do conservatives wish me to regard doctors? As the poor, about-to-be-enslaved victims of Universal Health Care?
As defilers of the Constitution? Potential stooges for the State? Potential stooges for the extreme left?

Um... the Patriot Act did not rescind doctor-patient confidentiality laws... or am I confused about this, too?
posted by likeso at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2011


You're perfectly welcome to tell him "None of your business," but I would argue that this is far from the correct answer.

This is true and this entire bill seems to raise the question of why people are going to doctors for advice on pregnancy and child rearing if they are offended by the notion that they might be asked about their lifestyle or asked to make changes.
posted by epsilon at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2011


...So again, we are talking about whether or not we trust doctors not to violate HIPAA...

I agree, that really is the heart of the issue.

My understanding is that HIPAA doesn't mean the records are "sealed" in that no one but a medical professional can look at them. Information that would normally be HIPAA-protected is routinely given to law enforcement in certain circumstances, such as gunshot wounds, correct?

Genuine question, not snark - Is it possible for law enforcement to subpoena HIPAA records for multiple people not otherwise related (not all relevant to one particular crime investigation)?
posted by de void at 9:16 AM on May 13, 2011


I guess now that I think about it, doctors are mandatory reporters for child abuse, so they might be required to notify the authorities if they thought that a parent's gun habits were abusive or neglectful. I guess maybe that's the concern.
posted by craichead at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2011


When did doctors start asking about guns? I've never been asked this.
posted by DU at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are they so freaking paranoid about the Big Government finding out from their doctor whether or not they own guns? Didn't the Big Government already find that out when they asked them to buy a gun license and register their guns?

This is a transparent waste of legislative time and effort meant to pander to a lunatic fringe base that can't be bothered to think through any issue for more than a half-second before deciding who they'd most like to see dead or deported over it. Embarrassing, but unfortunately, par for the course these days.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:19 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ach, I stand corrected again. Turns out there are no licensing or registry requirements here in Florida. Guess that explains why I never had to license my 4-10 as a kid.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2011


Information that would normally be HIPAA-protected is routinely given to law enforcement in certain circumstances, such as gunshot wounds, correct?

"Information that is required to be reported to the police" is not "normally HIPAA-protected."

As gun ownership is not required to be reported to the police, then it would be HIPAA protected.

This law doesn't make much sense: Here's my favorite part
clarifying that a physician's authority to choose his or her patients is not altered by the act; prohibiting discrimination by licensed health care practitioners or facilities based solely upon a patient's firearm ownership or possession
Gun owners are now a protected class. Not homosexuals, not transgender people. Gun owners.
posted by muddgirl at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"How many children die each year of gunshot wounds in households that contain one or more guns? How many children die each year of gunshot wounds in households containing no guns? Which of these situations, mathematically speaking, poses a higher risk to children of death by gunshot wound?"

How many children die each year of drowning in households that have one or more pools? How many children die each year of drowning in households that don't have pools? Which of these situations, mathematically speaking, poses a higher risk to children of death by drowning?
posted by Jacqueline at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which of these situations, mathematically speaking, poses a higher risk to children of death by drowning?

Oddly enough, we don't feel the need to protect the rights of pool owners by forbidding doctors to ask about pool ownership.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


This whole thing stinks of voter turnout. This has never been an issue. As a gun owner (OMG, MeFite gun ownership!) my guns are locked, only I have the keys, and there are no children around them ever. I've never had a doctor ask me about my guns, and I go to a doctor in the Hippyville neighborhood of the People's Republic of Portland.

Again: This whole thing stinks of voter turnout.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oddly enough, we don't feel the need to protect the rights of pool owners by forbidding doctors to ask about pool ownership.

Some of us do. Or at least some of us are concerned that the recording of the question as relevant data to be used down the line. I've never made a Nazi reference in any post before but I'll just say the words 'slippery slope' here and leave it at that.

...man it sucks being one of those people for whom no party's belief structure fits.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear NRA and related groups,

Please stop making reasonable gun owners like myself seem crazy by virtue of the fact that we share something in common.

Thanks.
posted by quin at 9:30 AM on May 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


How many children die each year of drowning in households that have one or more pools? How many children die each year of drowning in households that don't have pools? Which of these situations, mathematically speaking, poses a higher risk to children of death by drowning?

What makes you think pediatricians don't ask or care about pool safety?

Or at least some of us are concerned that the recording of the question as relevant data to be used down the line.

Gah. For like the fifth time in this thread: that's one of the main reasons we have HIPAA! It's already generally illegal to "use it down the line!"
posted by jedicus at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or at least some of us are concerned that the recording of the question as relevant data to be used down the line.

Then don't answer the question! It's really not too difficult.

When I was 19, my optometrist asked if I ever drank. I said, "That's none of your business," and I was not tossed in jail, or even kicked out of his practice.
posted by muddgirl at 9:33 AM on May 13, 2011


It occurs to me that lectures on child safety are probably something that women, not men, are expected to suffer, since women are expected to do most of the childcare. But lectures on gun safety are likely to have to be directed to the gun owner, who is probably a man. And men don't like taking lectures from authority figures (or don't put up with it as women are expected to do).

Maybe that's part of why advice on gun ownership is different from advice on bicycling: it's intruding on a male space, and men don't expect to be bossed around.
posted by alasdair at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


clockzero : Ultrasensitive/sociopathic people of America: kids can blow their fucking heads off with unsecured guns very, very easily

Ultragunphobic people of America - Gun owners already know this. Duh.

/ Though technically, no, someone cannot "blow their fucking heads off" with any variety of gun or ammo commonly available. Most will just make a small neat hole through the head, with the bigger calibers and high-velocity rounds merely making a bigger hole on its way out.


saulgoodman : Didn't the Big Government already find that out when they asked them to buy a gun license and register their guns?

The US does not require you to "license and register" your guns unless you want to play with full auto; Nor, even, do most states, unless you want a CCW.

You could argue that background checks effectively accomplish the same goal, but you can get around those so many ways they may as well not even bother (yet another case of the government annoying the law-abiding while criminals have a million alternatives).
posted by pla at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Information that is required to be reported to the police" is not "normally HIPAA-protected."...

Understood, and poorly worded on my part.

Some quick googling seems to reveal that HIPAA-protected records *ARE* subpoenable:

a covered entity may use or disclose protected health information without the written consent or authorization of the individual subject to the applicable requirements of this section.
- disclosures for judicial and administrative proceeding
- in response to a subpoena


So that might be part of the NRA's stance as well - if the information is collected and stored, then it is likely to be used.

posted by de void at 9:36 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Argggh, damn tags!
posted by de void at 9:36 AM on May 13, 2011


The US does not require you to "license and register" your guns unless you want to play with full auto

Or a suppressor, certain short barreled rifles and shotguns, grenade launchers, etc.

Some quick googling seems to reveal that HIPAA-protected records *ARE* subpoenable:

If it's come to the point that a subpoena can be issued, chances are the police can just search the house outright and subpoena financial records (to find, e.g., transactions at gun shops or shooting ranges).
posted by jedicus at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2011


then it is likely to be used

For what? Gun ownership is legal, and if a patient own a gun illegally then they can safely tell a doctor to fuck off with his questions. Just as I do when a doctor I do not trust asks about illegal behavior.
posted by muddgirl at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2011


"I think it's fine and makes total sense to ask about guns in the home IF they also ask about Doritos, Little Debbie cakes, dirt bikes, regular bikes, trees tall enough to climb, heavy objects placed on tall shelf, frayed electrical cords, and drowning hazards."

Out of curiosity, have you been to a pediatrician lately? (As the law is in response to the AAP guideline to ask about guns.) Because they TOTALLY ask about those sorts of things. They also ask about marital stress, helmet use during sports and recreation activities, outdoor exercise, sunscreen, a variety of common home hazards, childproofing, transit choices, sleeping places, lead paint and vinyl blinds, how often you read to your child, whether he's using a fork yet, whether he uses reflexive pronouns, how he interacts with your pets ... and I had to fill out a "post-partum depression screener" every appointment for my child's entire first year.

There really isn't much they DON'T ask about with respect to child safety and development. I suppose they didn't specifically ask me about frayed electrical cords, but we did talk about tipping and falling furniture, objects on top of such furniture, and frayed cords were on the list of "common hazards" they gave me for my childproofing consideration. And OBVIOUSLY we discuss nutrition at EVERY well-child visit. It's about as holistic as American health care gets, really.

And it starts when you're pregnant and the ob/gyn reminds you around 28 weeks that you need a car seat and asks if you've gotten one yet. And reminds you around 32 weeks about "back to sleep" and safe infant sleeping practices and asks about your plans for that. Etc. And they send you home from the hospital with a veritable bookshelf of child safety and health information. Even my dentist, when I saw him while pregnant, congratulated me and then reminded me not to let the baby fall asleep with a bottle to prevent the common problem of "baby bottle tooth decay."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:41 AM on May 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


No, because as long as the doctors aren't taking weapons away from active members of the national guard ("well regulated militia"), there isn't any violation of the second amendment.
posted by washburn at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2011


Linking through the Google result links seems like bad form to me.

As well it might. That's what I get for trying to make an FPP and listen to a conference speaker at the same time. The link is supposed to go to:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-05-13-nra-doctors-guns_n.htm

Sorry. Mods, please fix?
posted by steambadger at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2011


Out of curiosity, have you been to a pediatrician lately? (As the law is in response to the AAP guideline to ask about guns.) Because they TOTALLY ask about those sorts of things. They also ask about marital stress, helmet use during sports and recreation activities...

Out of deeper curiosity did you read the rest the next word of my post where I said "Seriously." and meant it (as clarified in a later post which I'm curious if you read either).

/exit stage right.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:47 AM on May 13, 2011


sanka writes "I don't even understand this controversy on a basic level. The only correct answer to this question seems to be 'None of your business'."

I wonder how many people who don't own a gun answer that way.
posted by Mitheral at 9:50 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


A later post where you admitted that you are concerned governments will use patient medical records to send people to jail for feeding their children McDonalds?
posted by muddgirl at 9:50 AM on May 13, 2011


I do think it is time the Red States secede.

Yeah, but then we'd have to build a wall around Austin and start airlifting in white wine and copies of the New Yorker and stuff. It'd just be a big old mess.
posted by Zed at 9:55 AM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, since I didn't mention jail or McDonalds I'm guessing you meant the one where I said that a "None of your business column would be fine too".

Let me be clear, I think this law's passing is a silly response to a silly question. When you squirt a kid out there's a level of responsibility that is required, or else Darwin takes over and fixes things for the species in question. A person with a Ph.D asking questions that cross the line of relevancy/usefulness do little to affect things one way or the other.

Done here, will read but will be little surprised at the vehemency the way these comments are trending.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:56 AM on May 13, 2011


Did anybody else notice that the supportive doctor they quoted is a dentist?

"My god, Jim Bob, what happened here?"
"I thod my teef out."
"What?"
"I thod my teef out. I's hying da thood ma wive."
"Jim Bob, your gun ownership is no concern of mine. I'll thank you to stop suborning violation of the US constitution, and we'll just pretend this conversation never happened. Now, let's get a look at that tooth decay..."
posted by steambadger at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's pretty easy to get everyone IN to SxSW (except for poor cortex, who launched a bit too late and ended up somewhere in Rockdale). The question is... how do we get everyone back out?

RolandOfEld: No vehemency intended. I was responding specifically to this thought: However, when/if this information is recorded and used for other means (I'm just fishing here, didn't really look deeply into the issue) that's getting a bit scary. Again, just speculating. As long as there's a "None of your business" column that's ok too. You never specified what means this information could possibly be used for. I could only imagine one negative use of this information: punishment by a state agency. Maybe I am suffering from a lack of imagination. Instead of getting upset at my interpretation of your cryptic warnings, you could explain your concerns more clearly.

You also never explained how, exactly, a physician could remove the option to not answer a question, or to straight up lie. I would not recommend lying on medical forms, but I am imagining a rather complex series of laws which would legally prevent someone from doing so.
posted by muddgirl at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2011



You also never explained how, exactly, a physician could remove the option to not answer a question, or to straight up lie. I would not recommend lying on medical forms, but I am imagining a rather complex series of laws which would legally prevent someone from doing so.


The physician couldn't. I totally agree. I guess we just differ when it comes to our imagination as to how far astray our government can go when writing/proposing/passing 'complex series of laws'. I mean, take this very topic for example... So that's where I see fault in the asking. If/when it became a big deal then it would be a big deal.

Now let me requote my quote that you've quoted and I'll try to be more clear, as I obviously wasn't originally, note the bold highlights:

However, when/if this information is recorded and used for other means (I'm just fishing here, didn't really look deeply into the issue) that's getting a bit scary. Again, just speculating. As long as there's a "None of your business" column that's ok too.

As others have stated in the post, that know more about the legal-ese than I do regarding HIPAA policy, there seems to be some debate as to whether this data is reachable by anyone other than your doctor. Taking my premise (that the data is useless and provides no benefit to the parents or kids, see common sense/darwin quote previously and comments below) then the use case for asking in the first place goes away.

Aside: I'm all for saftey requirements before you can own a gun but I'm also for personal responsibility and this seems to portray things as "oh well my Doctor didn't ask so it must not be a risk" or "oh my Doctor asked so it must be a big deal medically". I just don't think it should be on the medical table at all. Like skydiving or drinking alcohol or doing woodworking owning a gun (even more so in a household with children) is a risk. But done properly and well it's no more risky than a kitchen knife or power tool. Speculating that a M.D. can somehow make me less likely to be injured by my drill press (or gun) is beyond my comprehension.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:16 AM on May 13, 2011


Oddly enough, we don't feel the need to protect the rights of pool owners by forbidding doctors to ask about pool ownership.

No, we take that up with our governments: google earth used to fine pools.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


RolandOfEld: Do you think that it is inappropriate for physicians to provide new parents with information on child-proofing their home? I think we just have different ideas as to what a physician can appropriately recommend.
posted by muddgirl at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, come to think of it, my doctor said I was overweight and had low cholesterol, so he said I should exercise more and try to eat more healthy sources of fat. He also said I might want to limit my computer time so that I have more time to consider being active.

Guy clearly had a pro-bicycle, anti-potato chip and anti-MetaFilter agenda.

This isn't the change we voted for, THANKS BARACK, &c.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:41 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


sanka writes "I don't even understand this controversy on a basic level. The only correct answer to this question seems to be 'None of your business'."

I wonder how many people who don't own a gun answer that way.
Personal anecdote:
Shortly after relocating to Massachusetts in 1996, I was berated and told not to return to a pediatric practice for pleasantly declining to answer any questions concerning firearms in the home (not even the NOYB answer). Glad I discovered the histrionic, bullying, unprofessional demeanor of that practice sooner rather than later.
posted by Consult The Oracle at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: I'd have problem at all with them providing the info.

I, however, would not agree with a questionnaire later asking if they had installed child locks on their cleaning cabinet. Surveys for research purposes exempted. But keeping it "on record" is what we're currently discussing.

Yep, we're probably pretty close to the same ideas because I may be coming across more extreme than I really am.

I just see this as a cut and dry case of "this is not the M.D.'s area of expertise so why are we turning to them for advice". There are better ways to lower children's deaths due to improperly stored/handled firearms than from the person who caught them, spanked them on the buttocks, and gave them wonderful medicines when they came into the world. If I had some faulty wiring in my home and bad things happened I would not, for some reason, blame my doctor for not asking about it. Why should it be any different for firearm ownership. Again, I'm sure the practitioners themselves have all the good intentions in the world but from the following snipped from the article

"The American Academy of Pediatrics' position on firearm-related injuries states "the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries" to them."

I can't help but think that the academy is over-reaching by thinking that statement couldn't be construed to mean that "the removal of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries". I don't see a whole heck of alot of difference in the words absence and removal and either way it's still a pretty clear stance on if guns should be in the homes or not. I wonder if they take the same stance with the other favorite from this thread, swimming pools. sorry for that rant but it pains me, really does when someone assumes that an inanimate object/situation is somehow responsible above and beyond the person making choices


Granted, I think Florida has overreacted a bit, but that's the trend here recently thanks to our oh-so-new-and-improved legislative/executive branches. Yes, I'm in Florida, actually in the town of one of the doctors quoted in the first link, not that it matters.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:07 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


* I'd have problem = I'd have no problem
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2011


When you squirt a kid out there's a level of responsibility that is required, or else Darwin takes over and fixes things for the species in question.
Darwin took over millions of years ago. It's possible that giving advice on child-raising is adaptive.

As a nerd parent, I preferred my own answers to "how the hell am I going to take care of one of those" to come in book form, but that's a relatively recent invention. It only makes sense for many people to still want or need to learn the inefficient, old-fashioned, one-on-one way.
posted by roystgnr at 11:14 AM on May 13, 2011


Normally I have a "I survived all that unsafe shit in the 70s, quit it with the mollycoddling already" reaction to hearing about pediatricians asking all sorts of intrusive questions. However, my parents kept a loaded gun in the house where I could reach it as a child. No major tragedy ensued, but I did have a good scare one time. I would not have been sorry to have my family doctor explain to my parents that keeping an unsecured gun in the house was a bad and unsafe idea.
posted by immlass at 11:18 AM on May 13, 2011


Just a reminder: whatever you tell your MD is on record forever as far as life, health, and disability insurance policies are concerned.

Some of them only ask for records going back 5-7 years, but some want the whole kit and caboodle.

Also, given the insane "won't someone think of the children/fetuses" going on these days, common sense statements like ""The American Academy of Pediatrics' position on firearm-related injuries states "the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries" to them." start to take on an ominous tone. These days it doesn't seem out of the realm of posibility that their next statement to be "gun ownership = child abuse," which in turn means "lose custody."
posted by small_ruminant at 11:19 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Over the years, I've come to realize that the only logical conclusion is that the NRA actually supports people shooting themselves or other by mistake. I think that there is a good reason for this, too. Once somebody shoots a bullet, they have to go and buy another.

Basically, preventing accidental discharge of firearms is bad for ammunition sales.

Free market wins again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:21 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


start to take on an ominous tone

It's exactly the same as the conservative position on sex education ("abstinence is the most reliable and effective method of preventing pregnancy"). And, like sex education, I think gun owners should be encouraged to practice safe gun ownership by everyone possible, including their doctor.

But keeping it "on record" is what we're currently discussing.

Keeping it "on record" is only one part of the overall law. The law bans doctors from asking about guns, even if the doctor makes no record of the answer.
posted by muddgirl at 11:23 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


@roy: You point is well taken. Well spoken there regarding adaptation and Darwin's current manifestation.

I for one don't think it takes one-on-one mentoring or books to know these basic facts:
1) Be aware and careful with things that cause harm around fragile things.
2) Kids are fragile in various ways.
3) Guns can cause harm.

If those facts aren't understood inherently then there's bigger fish to fry than this current legal dilemma.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:24 AM on May 13, 2011


RolandofEld: you must not know a lot about young kids to make the statement that "... it pains me, really does when someone assumes that an inanimate object/situation is somehow responsible above and beyond the person making choices."

As a pediatrican, it's pretty clear why I'm supposed ask parents about guns. It's because if/when children find the guns in the house, they don't always make good choices (e.g., don't touch it, leave it alone, don't play with it). That's why they're children. In instances when you've got small humans with poor impulse control, insatiably curious about forbidden things, and no understanding of consequences, it really is the inanimate object/situation and access to it that is the problem.

If a pediatrician can help even one not-so-bright-but-still-gun-totin' parent remember to buy a trigger lock or locked gun box by asking, then that's one more opportunity for a tragic death possibly averted.

That's, by the way, why it's important not to let your young kids have unsupervised access to the pool either.
posted by scblackman at 11:24 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't help but think that the academy is over-reaching by thinking that statement couldn't be construed to mean that "the removal of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries". I don't see a whole heck of alot of difference in the words absence and removal and either way it's still a pretty clear stance on if guns should be in the homes or not.

No, the statements are equivalent: it's like saying that "removing sugary snacks from the home is the most reliable and effective way to prevent unhealthy snacking." And that's true. Getting rid of them is much simpler and more effective than keeping them around and not snacking on them.

I wonder if they take the same stance with the other favorite from this thread, swimming pools.

The implied threat of that statement, however, is that the association is somehow suggesting that the guns -- or the snacks -- should be removed by force by an outside party. Say, the government. In fact they're giving the parents the actual information they need

I wonder if conservatives would take the same stance with abstinence education. Again, the bizarro-world disconnect of conservatives insisting that abstinence is the only thing that should be recommended when it comes to a biological imperative suddenly but pulling a 180 when the issue of keeping guns around the home comes up. I'm not suggesting you're an advocate of abstinence education, just reflecting on how odd the strange-bedfellows effect is.

sorry for that rant but it pains me, really does when someone assumes that an inanimate object/situation is somehow responsible above and beyond the person making choices

No one has implied that, and the discussion has always revolved around gun accidents, not parents deciding to shoot their children. Isn't telling people about the risks associated with gun ownership and children giving them more information with which to make their choices?

Isn't this just a case of people getting really, really testy about educational information that reflects badly on their dogma?
posted by verb at 11:26 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


@scblackman: You misunderstand.

I'd qualify the 'person making choices' in that scenario as the parent/gun-owner who failed to secure their weapon. Kids should be assumed to be unreliable until proven otherwise. That's how you have to handle their exposure to ANYTHING dangerous.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2011


I find it interesting that the general consensus here and here was that you shouldn't tell a doctor anything you don't want getting back to employers, insurance companies, the police, etc... yet when it comes to guns, everyone seems just fine with it. As many pointed out in those threads, HIPAA applies right up until there's a subpoena or a waiver; it does not protect your privacy from companies who are "supposed" to be on your side, nor from the police or other government agencies. I think it's a shame to ask those who want their gun ownership to remain private to lie to their doctors, just as it's a shame to ask drug users to do so -- the doctor-patient relationship should be one of trust, and leading questions like these undermine it.

This stop-asking law is clearly ridiculous, but so's the idea that gun owners should expect to give up their privacy. In a country with 222+ million guns in roughly 40% of households, gun safety should be a priority for everyone... since when is it impossible to encourage it without asking people if they own guns?
posted by vorfeed at 11:33 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This stop-asking law is clearly ridiculous, but so's the idea that gun owners should expect to give up their privacy. In a country with 222+ million guns in roughly 40% of households, gun safety should be a priority for everyone... since when is it impossible to encourage it without asking people if they own guns?

I'm a busy person. I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I don't have any guns.
posted by verb at 11:35 AM on May 13, 2011


You know, this kind of paranoia gives gun owners a bad name. And by paranoia, I mean the idea that someday, somehow, the govt is coming for your guns.

It's not. There are too many people, too many guns, and the govt can't even keep guns out of the hands of gang members; getting them out of the hands of millions of mostly law-abiding Americans is never going to happen.

And of course, there is nothing at all that prevents you, Joe Q. Gunowner, Parent, from lying your ass off and saying "nope." There is no penalty, no search and seizure. Partly because doctors have better things to do, partly because gun ownership is legal.
posted by emjaybee at 11:36 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apparently you've never lived in Washington D.C.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:37 AM on May 13, 2011


There is no penalty, no search and seizure.
In the last 10 years or so, California has made certain types of guns illegal that were previously legal. You were supposed to turn yours in for some pittance, and since you'd been a good, law abiding citizen and registered them to begin with, they knew who had them. I don't think they came to your door or anything, though. I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure there was a penalty if you got caught with one, though.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2011


I find it interesting that the general consensus here and here was that you shouldn't tell a doctor anything you don't want getting back to employers, insurance companies, the police, etc... yet when it comes to guns, everyone seems just fine with it.

(1) Those people are not these people.
(2) I have stated over and over that people should not disclose this to their doctor if they are uncomfortable doing so. BUT I do not think that doctors should be outlawed from asking. I explicitely mentioned how I would not answer my doctor's questions about underaged drinking BUT I do not think he should have been legally forbidden from doing so.

It's not a difficult concept.
posted by muddgirl at 11:53 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


(1) Those people are not these people.

These people ARE those people, the way things work these days.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:57 AM on May 13, 2011


All of Metafilter speaks with one voice? On all three subsites? We can only have one opinion on a subject at time?

Good to know. I claim bunnies. Metafilter hates bunnies.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on May 13, 2011


(However, I agree that MDs should be able to ask whatever they think is necessary, and people should leave if they feel it's a bad fit. I have had friends whose MDs who were condemning of their gay or out of wedlock sexual relationships. As far as I know, this is legal. My friends went elsewhere.)
posted by small_ruminant at 12:01 PM on May 13, 2011


Apparently you've never lived in Washington D.C.

DC v. Heller (2008)?

(and non-handgun firearms ownership was never illegal in DC, although you were required to have a trigger lock)
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 12:02 PM on May 13, 2011


I'm a busy person. I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I don't have any guns.

Yes, well, I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I am a responsible gun owner who already keeps them in a locked safe. So?

A quick thought experiment: would everyone be as in favor of these questions if the "yes" answer triggered a lecture about gun safes, and the "no" answer triggered a lecture about how the parent should take their kids to the gun range so that everyone in the family knows how to handle guns safely? IMHO the latter is just as important as the former -- I've had a grown man bring me a shotgun he found in his new house, because he didn't know what to do with it.

Well, it was loaded. With a slug in the chamber and the safety off. It could have easily gone off and hurt or killed someone, and even the slightest familiarity with firearms could have rendered it safe. There's way more to gun safety than telling people to keep their guns locked up... because frankly, not everyone does, or ever will.
posted by vorfeed at 12:02 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


My apologies. You meant those commenters are not these commenters. I interpreted "those people" to mean "employers, insurance companies, the police, etc."
posted by small_ruminant at 12:03 PM on May 13, 2011


and the "no" answer triggered a lecture about how the parent should take their kids to the gun range so that everyone in the family knows how to handle guns safely?

I have no problem with individual doctors deciding to give such advice, or with any organization such as the AAP advising their member doctors to do so. I would have a problem with a law that outlawed such advice.
posted by muddgirl at 12:08 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bridge: You're totally correct, I was just saying it can/does/has happened.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:11 PM on May 13, 2011


"I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I don't have any guns."

"I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I am a responsible gun owner who already keeps them in a locked safe. "


Man, do you all go to pre-programmed robot doctors? I live in a house built in 1950 in one of the highest-rates-of-lead-poisoning areas in the country. My zip code, all by itself, triggers extra lead screening. My house would all by itself too. So my pediatrician, at our first lead-screening visit, says, "You're in a very high-risk area for lead in a house built prior to 1978; are you aware of the precautions you need to take with respect to lead poisoning?"

"Oh, yes," we replied. "We did X, Y, and Z, we're making sure of Q, we had the pipes checked, blah blah blah. We even had the vinyl blinds replaced when we were unsure of their age, and we got the non-strangly kind while we were at it."

"Excellent, then I don't need to give you the spiel," she said. "Here's the pamphlet that details all the various risk factors and what you can do, call if you have any questions about any of it, but it sounds like you already know what's in there."

How is your conversation NOT going, "Do you own guns?" "Yes." "Do you know how to take proper safety precautions to prevent accidents?" "Yes. We did the gun safety course the state DNR puts on." "Good, gun safety's important, here's a pamphlet if you have any more questions."? (Or whatever depending on whether you say "Yes," "No," or "None of your business.") Do the robot doctors not have IF/THEN programming?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:15 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, some robot doctors ARE assholes and would give you the lecture anyway, but it's good to find out if they're assholes on the first visit, so you can switch to a different robot doctor.
posted by muddgirl at 12:19 PM on May 13, 2011


(2) I have stated over and over that people should not disclose this to their doctor if they are uncomfortable doing so. BUT I do not think that doctors should be outlawed from asking. I explicitely mentioned how I would not answer my doctor's questions about underaged drinking BUT I do not think he should have been legally forbidden from doing so.

As I said above, I don't think doctors should be outlawed from asking. The stop-asking law is ridiculous, and a clear violation of the First Amendment. That said, I don't think people should have to opt-out of invasions of privacy in the face of their own doctor, either. I think gun safety, drug/alcohol use, sexual safety, etc. should be discussed off-the-record and/or in a less invasive way, because frankly, anything else simply encourages people to lie... and it'd be nice if we had true doctor-patient confidentiality while we're at it.
posted by vorfeed at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2011


Medical records are supposed to be for medical purposes only - they are supposed to help my doctor remember me between visits, and to help doctors co-ordinate care.

The problem isn't that doctors take notes, the problem is that those notes can (allegedly) be subpoena'd. So make medical record subpoenas illegal.
posted by muddgirl at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record, I own a rifle (it was a gift from an Army friend, who married my best friend.)

However, I figure there must be something wrong with me, because despite my owning a gun, I don't adopt a toddler's stubbornness when it comes to my deadly toy, nor am I so eager to sell all my other rights and benefits down the river and vote against my best interests because MY COLD DEAD HANDS GRAR

Fucking christ, all this second amendment whining strikes me as a farce: most neocon gun nuts would sell their wives into slavery if it meant Clinton or that Nigra president let's them keep their juvenile Red Dawn fantasy alive.

Now DOCTORS are a threat to gun ownership? Hey assholes, Big Government doesn't need to get doctors to rat on you; if they wait long enough, you'll describe in detail every gun in your collection, because why the fuck else are you spending thousands of dollars on hardware that you will (admit it) never have a practical use for?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:35 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anecdata: Growing up in Houston, my best friend's dad had a lot of guns. Mostly or entirely shotguns and rifles. He was a hunter. There were no guns in my house, but we did have a pool, which my friend didn't have.

While I have never owned a gun or lived in a home with a gun present, I was taught gun safety and how to shoot as a kid. I agree with vorfeed that this is extremely important, and if we can mandate police officers teaching gun safety to children (with unloaded firearms, obviously) I'd be totally on board.

Because I remember where my friend's dad's guns were kept, in a locked wood-and-glass cabinet in a small closet off of the playroom. Ryan, my friend, would occasionally take me back there to show them to me. And while that seems like a really, really irresponsible place to put them, Ryan's dad (1) Always kept the cabinet locked, and held onto the only key, (2) had expressly forbidden Ryan from trying to access the cabinet on pain of torture, basically, and (3) had taught Ryan about guns, gun safety, and had taken him out hunting from a very young age.

So Ryan would take me back into the closet and point through the glass at the firearms, teaching me about them and their features, and the first time, when I reached for the door to the cabinet, he freaked out. That was a HUGE no-no, and he rushed me out of there.

Ryan's dad was a responsible gun-owner, like I imagine most gun owners are. He had taught his kids about safety and made sure things were safe. But I hadn't been taught anything yet, and had any of his precautions not been in place, I would have grabbed one of those things, and something serious could have occurred.

(Similarly, my friends and I weren't allowed to use the pool unless my folks were around, and we were all members of the neighborhood swim team.)

The point is that kids are unpredictable, and even more so when it's not your own kids. People are responsible a lot of the time, and some aren't. For those who aren't, a kick in the ass is fully warranted. But for those who are, well, part of responsibility is due diligence to making sure that all reasonable precautions are taken.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2011


Oh, and for the vocal minority for whom this stereotype represents, I don't think, "The gov't is coming to take our guns!" is paranoia so much as it's wish-fulfillment fantasy.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:42 PM on May 13, 2011


The problem isn't that doctors take notes, the problem is that those notes can (allegedly) be subpoena'd. So make medical record subpoenas illegal.

Don't forget insurance companies and employers via waiver, either. I think that's as much or more of a problem than The Gubmint -- as long as it's easy to hand over your records "voluntarily", there will always be pressure to do so for the benefit of corporations.
posted by vorfeed at 12:59 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, do you all go to pre-programmed robot doctors?

Well, the earlier poster had implied that Doctors should explain gun safety to people without attempting to discern if the people owned guns. By definition, that would require explaining it to everyone. It's silly.
posted by verb at 1:12 PM on May 13, 2011


Yes, well, I don't want my doctor wasting my time lecturing me about how to secure my guns to protect my kids if I am a responsible gun owner who already keeps them in a locked safe. So?

I think you're missing the point. If doctors aren't allowed to ask people if they own guns (just like the ask about pool ownership or exercise habits), then the only two options are explaining gun safety to everyone or explaining gun safety to no one.

It was an earlier poster's insistence that doctors shouldn't "pry" about gun ownership before explaining about safety that is ridiculous.
posted by verb at 1:16 PM on May 13, 2011


Questions about gun ownership? Heck, I'll take any amount of smalltalk to keep my mind occupied while in the office of a man who's job it is to cup my balls and stick his finger up my arse once a year.
posted by rh at 1:38 PM on May 13, 2011


Don't forget insurance companies and employers via waiver, either.

Yes, I realized that I left that out, thanks for the correction. It's one problem I have with the employer-payed insurance system that we have in the US - it gives too much power to corporate agents over private citizens.

And it's sort of a serious problem when we start to think about universal health care (fat chance of that, in the US). We'd hopefully be smart enough to recognize that just because the government is paying for our health care, doesn't mean they need unfettered access to our records.
posted by muddgirl at 1:39 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heck, I'll take any amount of smalltalk to keep my mind occupied while in the office of a man who's job it is to cup my balls and stick his finger up my arse once a year.

... that is one strange pediatrician!
posted by muddgirl at 1:40 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The NRA gives sane gun owners a bad name. We're not all crazy.
posted by Compulsion at 1:48 PM on May 13, 2011


Uther Bentrazor : Now DOCTORS are a threat to gun ownership? Hey assholes, Big Government doesn't need to get doctors to rat on you;

Not "a threat" - "Irrelevant". As in, they have no business bringing up the topic, period.

Sure, I'll make small-talk about the weather, the local gladiatorial rankings, and so on. I might even discuss my gun ownership with someone in the context of a shared interest.

But for someone providing me a service to ask semi-personal questions, completely unrelated to that service, either out of the blue or in a questionnaire format?. Dell tech support doesn't need to know my marital status; My electrician doesn't need to know if I get enough fiber in my diet; and my doctor doesn't need to know if I own firearms.

No paranoia involved, beyond the basic desire to retain some degree of privacy in a world that makes it increasingly difficult to do so.
posted by pla at 2:04 PM on May 13, 2011


my doctor doesn't need to know if I own firearms.

Nor does he need to know if you exercise - if you're healthy, you're healthy.
posted by verb at 2:06 PM on May 13, 2011


the local gladiatorial rankings

Wh.. what?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2011


completely unrelated to that service

The AAP and its member doctors believe that education about safe gun ownership is relevant to a pediatrician's services.
posted by muddgirl at 2:16 PM on May 13, 2011


@Joey Michaels and anyone who favorited this comment:

"Over the years, I've come to realize that the only logical conclusion is that the NRA actually supports people shooting themselves or other by mistake. I think that there is a good reason for this, too. Once somebody shoots a bullet, they have to go and buy another.

"Basically, preventing accidental discharge of firearms is bad for ammunition sales.

"Free market wins again."


What! :O

There are so many things wrong with this comment that I'm not sure where to begin. Do you know *anything* about guns? Or logic?

Briefly:

1) The NRA is a non-profit membership organization, not an ammunition manufacturer or retailer.

2) The NRA is (one of?) the biggest providers of gun safety training classes in the U.S. They also provide educational materials, instructors, and funding for schools for "don't touch!" safety classes for children.

3) The NRA sponsors numerous shooting competitions. Preparing for these competitions uses up a *lot* of ammo during target practice. Thus any covert interest the NRA could possibly have in ammo sales is more than covered by their promotion of shooting as a sport.

4) Occasional accidental discharges are not in any way profitable to the ammunition industry, not only because the marginal profit on a single wasted bullet is trivial but also because occasional accidental discharges sometimes kill gun owners who otherwise would have likely bought lots and lots of ammunition over their lifetimes for target practice.

5) Accidental discharges are bad for the NRA because fatal incidents provide grist for gun control advocates. NRA members would generally prefer that their dues fund cool shooting competitions and stuff like that instead of have to be spent on lobbyists for gun rights.

Joey Michaels, it's nutty comments like yours that reinforce gun rights organizations' stereotypes that gun control proponents are all just ignorant and afraid. Seriously, dude, you are not doing your side any good by posting crap like this. Please educate yourself about guns so you can argue your side from a position of reason and facts, not hysteria and conspiracy theories.

Really, *every* American should take a gun safety class -- even if you have no intention of ever owning a gun -- because there are enough guns in this country that you might encounter one someday. Learning basic stuff about guns is like learning basic stuff about cars -- even if you don't drive, cars are dangerous and can kill people, and you might find yourself needing to stop one someday. Thus you should know enough to be able to do so safely without accidentally hurting yourself or others.

With guns, you need to know how to recognize whether the gun has a safety and if it is engaged, how to unload a gun, how to tell if the gun is *really* unloaded (i.e. no round in the chamber), how to tell if someone holding a gun is doing so in a safe manner (pro-tip: Hollywood is *horrible* at demonstrating proper trigger discipline), etc. You need to be comfortable enough touching and handling a gun that if some idiot does leave his/her guns unsecured and a child gets a hold of one that you can safely take that gun away from the child.

If you're too uncomfortable with the NRA's politics to take an NRA class, please check with your local police department, gun range, or gun store to find out about other basic gun safety classes offered in your area. Or perhaps call up your local chapter of the Pink Pistols -- they're definitely not the "typical" NRA crowd. :D

P.S. To everyone who thinks that the NRA is too extreme: The NRA is actually relatively *weak* on gun rights compared to other gun-related organizations. If you want to see an organization that is truly committed to compromising on gun rights, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership are the best.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:31 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Edit: Regarding the JPFO, I meant to write "...truly committed to NOT compromising on gun rights..."
posted by Jacqueline at 3:34 PM on May 13, 2011


pla: you're right in that it's legitimately a privacy issue. It is not even remotely a second amendment issue (not that you were saying it is) and it is also relevant in terms of conversations about properly making a home as safe as possible for a child.

Most people here own cars and know how to drive them. Riding in a car is almost certainly far more statistically dangerous for a child than living in a home with guns, but on the flipside, drivers also have a lot of experience driving safely. Still, as an expectant parent, it'd be foolhardy to not learn how to make your child most safe in your car in the event of something beyond your control, or even within your control. If you haven't had a kid before, there are things you might not know or consider. Knowledge is useful.

Now, legitimately, you might consider the question of whether you own a gun to be unreasonably invasive, and you may refuse to answer it. Personally, I don't know why someone who is happy to own a gun would find that question invasive, as I don't see gun-ownership as immoral, but I guess there's a culture of judgment or fear of judgment surrounding the issue. The doctor could just as easily (and justifiably) ask if you own a trampoline. But I don't think trampoline owners would be up in arms (so to speak) over that line of questioning.

The point is that if you own a gun (which is kept in your home) then you have, well, a potentially very dangerous item in your home. It's not wrong that you have it, but there are going to be kids around, so let's make sure they can't access it. Here are some tips on how kids behave to make sure that it is properly secured... and so on.

The point is that if you legitimately feel like it was out of line for a pediatrician to ask that question, you can seek another pediatrician. I don't understand why it would possibly be out of line, but that's your call. The proposed legislation would prohibit non-state actors from asking questions which could lead to a line of dialogue which could non-judgmentally improve child safety, and violate the first amendment while doing so. And responsible gun-owners might ask their pediatrician anyways, but that's the limit of it.

Basically, if we outlaw doctors informing gun-owners of responsible baby-proofing, only responsible gun-owners will have baby-proofed houses.

Or something.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:35 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl : The AAP and its member doctors believe that education about safe gun ownership is relevant to a pediatrician's services.

And many people believe in a friend in the sky who will let them hang in his house when they die, as long as they follow a long list of rules that make lots of sense from a social control angle, but absolutely no sense from the point of view of an omnipotent friend in the sky (unless we also consider it a sadist).


shakespeherian : Wh.. what?

Sports scores.


Navelgazer : Basically, if we outlaw doctors informing gun-owners of responsible baby-proofing, only responsible gun-owners will have baby-proofed houses.

Excellent post, no sarcasm intended!

I think, though, my biggest problem here comes from linking the quality of my medical treatment with my doctor's political hot-buttons. Yes, in theory, my answer shoul make no difference - And yet, how many people just in this thread have overwhelmingly demonstrated that, if they worked as a doctor, god help you if you admit to owning a gun (or refuse to answer the question), as a parent?

If NYC decided to require taxi drivers give their anonymous passengers-with-kids the gun control lecture, I'd have far less of a problem with that.

As for those who say "so pick another doctor"... Fortunately (for all of us), political stupidity doesn't tend to extend into other aspects of a person's life. I may disagree with the best doctor on the planet about fiscal and social policy, but you can bet I still want him on my side when I need repair. ;)
posted by pla at 4:12 PM on May 13, 2011


they have no business bringing up the topic, period.
They obviously disagree, but in any case, there is nothing (with the possible exception of yourself) stopping you from telling them that it's none of their business.

I am just not comprehending how this is a 2nd Amendment issue. Even assuming a broad interpretation of the 2nd (i.e. outside of the context of well-regulated militias), how does your doctor asking if you have guns infringe upon your right to have a gun?
posted by Flunkie at 4:29 PM on May 13, 2011


how many people just in this thread have overwhelmingly demonstrated that, if they worked as a doctor, god help you if you admit to owning a gun (or refuse to answer the question), as a parent?

Um. None?

At best, they've demonstrated that they think responsible gun safety is just as important as pool safety or nutrition, and that the safest approach from an accident perspective is to not have guns around the home. I'm not sure how that translates to "God help you if you admit to owning a gun!"

In a world where coming out of the closet can get you beaten to death, conservatives who scream "INTERNMENT CAMPS!" whenever anyone so much as coughs at them make me roll my eyes.
posted by verb at 4:36 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


conservatives who scream "INTERNMENT CAMPS!" whenever anyone so much as coughs at them make me roll my eyes.

(speaking of hyperbole.)
posted by small_ruminant at 4:38 PM on May 13, 2011


Even assuming a broad interpretation of the 2nd (i.e. outside of the context of well-regulated militias), how does your doctor asking if you have guns infringe upon your right to have a gun?

In the clinically thin-skinned world of conservative persecution complexes and grievance fetish, the knowledge that someone, somewhere might think you are making a bad choice is in fact a violation of your constitutional rights.

Somewhere around the mid 90's, conservatives became the parody of the left that they'd always railed against.
posted by verb at 4:39 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


(speaking of hyperbole.)

Would you like me to forward you the warnings about interment camps I get from my batshit crazy relatives? Would you like to be CC'd on the breathless analysis of rising and falling bullet prices used as evidence that the government is trying to leave us all defenseless cows? Would you like to go down that rabbit hole?

People in this thread, and the supporters of the legislation, have been not so subtly suggesting that a doctor asking parents if they are a gun owner and explaining about gun safety is tantamount to a restriction on their right to own a gun. That is ridiculous: if anything, they're only ensuring that gun ownership is treated as a shameful thing that must be hidden. That does nothing to protect the second amendment, and everything to fuel sweaty "when everything goes to hell, we'll rise up!" fantasies.
posted by verb at 4:44 PM on May 13, 2011


warnings about interment camps I get from my batshit crazy relatives? for people coughing at them?
posted by small_ruminant at 5:22 PM on May 13, 2011


"Would you like me to forward you the warnings about interment camps I get from my batshit crazy relatives? Would you like to be CC'd on the breathless analysis of rising and falling bullet prices used as evidence that the government is trying to leave us all defenseless cows? Would you like to go down that rabbit hole?"

As one of MetaFilter's token Libertarians, I can confirm that what verb reports about current levels of right-wing paranoia is very, very true. :(

I run in those circles and many of my libertarian/right-wing friends have gone off the deep end since Obama was elected: obsessing about ammo prices/availability, the silver and gold markets, whether they're on a terrorist watch list, when FEMA is going to come round them up for the internment camps, etc. :(

They are living deep, deep within their filter bubble. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 7:18 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also want to make very clear that I'm not saying that anyone with a gun is crazy, that guns can't be owned and used responsibly, or that people don't have the right to say, "Hey, none of your business" if their child's pediatrician asks them about gun safety.

What I am saying is that the people who treat this issue as the creeping shadow oppression are echoing a very, very long-running persecution fantasy that conservatives have indulged in for ages. When you hire someone to do a job, and they ask you something that they thing is relevant to that job but you disagree, it is not totalitarianism.
posted by verb at 8:10 PM on May 13, 2011


warnings about interment camps I get from my batshit crazy relatives? for people coughing at them?

No. No one coughed at them. No one did anything to them. That's the point.
posted by verb at 8:12 PM on May 13, 2011


Jacqueline writes "I run in those circles and many of my libertarian/right-wing friends have gone off the deep end since Obama was elected: obsessing about ammo prices/availability, the silver and gold markets, whether they're on a terrorist watch list, when FEMA is going to come round them up for the internment camps, etc. :("

Well to be fair the US government is holding people indefinitely without trial in off shore prisons (some of them secret); has declared a 100 mile buffer zone along the borders a customs zone (and therefor a rights limited zone); is marshalling protesters in "free speech" *barf* zones; has joint task forces setting up random check points on roads and subways to search citizen's bags and cars in addition to their regular duties of groping and porno scanning citizen's travelling by plane and train; and is maintaining a secret list of who is not permitted to fly. These people are crazy but the government is giving them a lot of cause. I mean just renaming ICE to Homeland Security is the sort of cliched over the top action that we would have dissed any writer using 10 years ago. Be interesting to see if the US goes far enough to set up a defacto if not de jure internal passport system.
posted by Mitheral at 11:28 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Though interns scoff at it as one of those useless parts of the history and physical in between the chief complaint and the physical exam, the social history is often illuminating about health habits and risks for disease and injury. Even when it isn't, the questions should be asked. More information means better diagnosis. Standard questions (in my neck of the woods) include occupation, marital status, education, tobacco and alcohol use, drug use, and exercise/diet. There are definitely occasions when firearm ownership would be a pertinent question--and I'm told by one of the psychiatrists at my hospital that ownership and access to firearms is basically a required question in his field.

I can conjure some less-than-common scenario in which a physician uses the information unwisely. But I mean--it's not like you're not giving the physician a mountain of other sensitive personal information on top of that. If you're not, I don't know exactly how you expect him to diagnose and treat you correctly. And if you are, why do you trust him with all that and not about guns?
posted by adoarns at 6:57 AM on May 14, 2011


to be fair the US government is holding people indefinitely without trial in off shore prisons (some of them secret); has declared a 100 mile buffer zone along the borders a customs zone (and therefor a rights limited zone); is marshalling protesters in "free speech" *barf* zones; has joint task forces setting up random check points on roads and subways to search citizen's bags and cars in addition to their regular duties of groping and porno scanning citizen's travelling by plane and train; and is maintaining a secret list of who is not permitted to fly.

That is correct. The problem is that the folks I know who are whipped up into a froth about Obama stealing their guns and the government preparing to oppress them and (now) the doctors asking them about gun safety are also the ones who applaud vigorously when Muslims are held at Gitmo or the government monitors citizens' phone calls.

Those people don't give two shits about civil liberties. They care about their own ability to never be questioned or doubted. Black guys get pulled over by cops or being black? Well, yeah, that's just the cops doing their job. Muslim kid gets thrown into jail for a decade for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Gotta break a few eggs. Government spends millions of dollars infiltrating soup kitchens to find nonexistent terrorists? Gotta keep an eye on those radicals. Legally require that women who need an abortion get a 20-minute lecture about adoption and watch a pro-life infomercial about how much God loves fetuses? Well, gotta help people make informed choices.

But a pediatrician asks a parent, "Do you have guns around the house?" and that's a frightening civil rights violation.
posted by verb at 8:28 AM on May 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


This just in: Most people are hypocrites. Film at 11.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:54 PM on May 14, 2011


verb : Those people don't give two shits about civil liberties. They care about their own ability to never be questioned or doubted. Black guys get pulled over by cops or being black? Well, yeah, that's just the cops doing their job. Muslim kid gets thrown into jail for a decade for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Gotta break a few eggs. Government spends millions of dollars infiltrating soup kitchens to find nonexistent terrorists? Gotta keep an eye on those radicals. Legally require that women who need an abortion get a 20-minute lecture about adoption and watch a pro-life infomercial about how much God loves fetuses? Well, gotta help people make informed choices. But a pediatrician asks a parent, "Do you have guns around the house?" and that's a frightening civil rights violation.

Wow... Where the hell did you find that much straw? ;)

I care about people pointedly asking me about things they have no business knowing.

I also care that we have hundreds (or thousands?) of people illegally detained or exported-for-torture around the world. I also care that the FBI wastes millions trying to frame harmless hippies. I also care that the religious whackjobs would rather have women as broodmares than allow them to decide their own reproductive health issues.

You've mixed several groups into one enemy here. Not effective.
posted by pla at 5:46 PM on May 14, 2011


Wow... Where the hell did you find that much straw? ;)

I care about people pointedly asking me about things they have no business knowing.


In my inbox. Sent to me by Cliff, Conrad, Steve, Neil, Julia, and the rest of the people I know from a movement and a culture that I bailed on when I realized it was batshit crazy. Those are the people I'm talking about when I say that I am staggered by the hypocrisy. Those are the people that I am rolling my eyes at when I chuckle about persecution fetishes.

If you'd like to suggest that that circle of friends, the people I considered my comrades in arms and fellow believers, are made-up straw men, I can introduce you.



You've mixed several groups into one enemy here. Not effective.

No, I've specifically talked about one group in particular. And you've said that you aren't part of it. I congratulate you.
posted by verb at 6:00 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Again, I can confirm that the people verb speaks of do exist and that I know such people myself. I could hook you up with a Facebook friend suggestion if you want to see for yourself.

I envy those of you who have never met anyone like that. What delightfully sheltered lives you must live!
posted by Jacqueline at 10:01 PM on May 14, 2011


And just to clarify on the "persecution fetish" angle, this circle of folks I know has been angry about similar issues before. Not the kinds of civil rights violations that you refer to in your post, pla -- they literally applauded indefinite detentions and were outraged that anyone would oppose government monitoring of citizen's phone calls, but they screamed for weeks when the White House put up a webform to collect information about "false rumors about the health care plan."

Literally training postal workers to scan peoples' houses for signs of terrorist activity was fine, but asking people to alert the white house about "death panel" urban legends during the health care debate? That was the start of a police state. They went on literally for weeks about how it was just what Hitler had done in Germany, and it was just how the Soviet secret police had turned family against family, etc.

The percentage of people in our culture and in public life who care enough about general issues of civil liberties to raise objections when real violations happen is ridiculously small. Instead, the energy and the focus of special interest groups like the NRA gets focused on grievance-stoking issues like this one. It's maddening. I applaud you for caring about the deeper issues, but there is a reason that people who complain about indefinite detentions are branded as 'civil liberties extremists' while those who ask for laws gagging pediatricians get their legislation passed.
posted by verb at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The percentage of people in our culture and in public life who care enough about general issues of civil liberties to raise objections when real violations happen is ridiculously small."

Pro-tip: If you want to get mail from every wacky political interest group from across the spectrum, join both the ACLU *and* the NRA, because both sell your address far and wide. My mail carrier must have thought I was nuts!
posted by Jacqueline at 5:31 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


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