“WHILE MASSACHUSETTS already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and took steps last year to tighten access to firearms, the data show there are simple measures that could be taken to further curb gun violence,” bostonglobe.com‘s editorial writers opine. “One glaring place to start is to recognize that gun violence against the most vulnerable members of society — children and youth — is largely preventable. Massachusetts health care providers could lead the nation in helping lower the rate of firearm suicides among teenagers by adopting a requirement to advise parents about the risks of guns in the home.” Really? Where’s the evidence that a doctor talking to the parent of a teen would reduce the risk of firearms-related suicides (of the teens)? Oh, I forgot. Facts are either optional or malleable for civilian disarmament crusaders. Like this . . .
Many lives could be saved. In 2010, 51 percent of all suicides in the United States were by gun. Studies show that a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide for everyone living in the household: the gun owner, the gun owner’s spouse, and the gun owner’s children.
Wait. The presence of a gun in a house increases the risk of suicide? Are guns demonic? Do they make people crazy and then whisper a way out? Anyway, what’s the possibility of suicide got to do with doctors talking to patients about guns, knives, cleaning products, unused prescription pills, etc.? Shouldn’t they address the psychological issues rather than potentially deadly household items?
Because guns! Guns make it easier to commit suicide, supposedly. (Again, “common sense” anti-gun agitprop replaces verifiable, repeatable scientific data.) Which is why the Globe’s suggesting that Docs could – sorry should – convince parents to get rid of their guns or lock them up as a method of suicide prevention, rather than, say, lobbying for greater access to psychiatric treatment. Or better psychiatric treatment.
Safer storage of guns reduces injuries, and physician counseling linked with distribution of cable locks appears [italics added] to increase safer storage. All the same, the safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms. “There’s evidence that suggests that even when we teach kids gun safety, children will still play with guns. Children’s curiosity is a wonderful thing, but it can get them into trouble,” said Dr. Robert Sege, a Brookline-based pediatrician who co-authored the AAP’s policy statement on physicians and guns.
So ban civilian gun ownership. That’s the safest thing to do. For the children! And teens! (Which the antis call children for the sake of argument.) Of course, banning guns goes against the grain in states where citizens defend their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Where voters don’t want doctors prying into firearms ownership. A perspective the Globe considers . . . and rejects. And how!
Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association acted pre-emptively to stop pediatric gun counseling. In Florida, the NRA lobbied to make it illegal for doctors to question patients regarding guns, citing gun owners’ rights to privacy and constitutional rights. So in 2011, the Sunshine state passed what is known as the “gun-gag” law prohibiting doctors from discussing gun safety with patients. It was upheld last year by a federal court. At least 10 other states have introduced similar bills since the Florida legislation was signed into law in 2011, according to the AAP.
Here is a chance for Massachusetts to go in the other direction, and make the safety of children and adolescents a public safety priority.
And here’s a chance for all rational Americans to see what happens when you make your gun laws “tougher.” It opens the floodgates to government interference in every aspect of human behavior. How great is that?