New Floridian law flawed
All the trouble started when the American Academy of Pediatrics released their guidelines; topics suggested to be discussed by physicians and their patients. This list is designed to counsel parents on creating a livable and safe home environment and to provide them with ways to avoid preventable accidents. It consists of little things like "cover up electricity sockets," and "don't let your kid play in a busy street." Plus one more, the one that pissed everyone off: "Do not keep guns in your home. Guns, especially handguns, should be removed from the environments where children live and play." Then, to make matters worse, a doctor in Florida refused to provide care to a patient who wouldn't disclose information about firearms in their household.
Does that sound reasonable to you? Think before you respond, because you could be supporting the forfeit of your second amendment rights. At least that's what State Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) thought. He filed HB 155, the Privacy of Firearms Owners Act, which makes it illegal for physicians to question their patients about their gun ownership.
Brodeur first claimed that the 2010 federal healthcare law would allow insurance companies to collect information about gun owners, saying "If the overreaching federal government actually takes over health care, they're worried that Washington, D.C. is going to know whether or not they own a gun and so this is really just a privacy protection".
Hmm, maybe not so much. In fact, the health care law explicitly states that healthcare providers can not refuse service to anyone, saying " [. . . ]health insurance coverage may not be denied [. . .] on the basis of, or on reliance upon -- (A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition."
The bill's co-sponsor, Frank Artiles, went on CNN and told Anderson Cooper that the bill would only prevent doctors from refusing treatment based on gun ownership. Then, when questioned about the penalty for violating this new law, a paltry maximum $5 million or five years in jail, even he said he felt that might have to be worked on.
Marion Hammer, former president of the NRA, makes a good point. She says, "Whether or not I own a gun has nothing to do with influenza or if I have a broken leg." And she's right. It's completely within someone's rights, as an American citizen, to own a gun. And it really isn't the doctor's business if she does.
If a kid picks up a gun and shoots himself with it, then it's in the doctor's interests to know about it. But until that happens, it really isn't any business of theirs. However, it is completely within a doctor's rights, as a business owner, to refuse service to anyone for any reason. And the Republican Party should respect that right. They are, after all, the party that protects corporate interest.
People have nothing to lose by talking with their doctor about gun safety. Doctors hold the exalted position of someone we trust with our lives. It kind of makes sense that we'd listen to them about home safety advice. Especially when it comes to infants and children.
There's no degree in parenting, there's no school for parenting, people just have babies and take care of them. There are probably some people out there who would legitimately not know that they shouldn't keep a handgun around their kid. There are also the people who don't care.
It's time we all maybe thought about a national firearms registry. It's beyond ridiculous that we don't have to tell anyone we own a gun. If we had a national gun registry, after someone committed a crime, all the police would have to do is look up the owner by type. They already do it in many states, why not on a national level?