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Contrary to the antis’ frequent accusations, I am enamored of the whole Constitution. Like many Second Amendment absolutists I do have my favorite bits (like the Second Amendment), but I’m also very partial to Article I section 8 as well as the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth amendments. So as a fan of freedom of speech, I found Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act an abomination. Even so, as a fan of logic, clear thinking and, well, reality I found Judge Cooke’s ruling on the FOPA to be just as bad because, as far as I can tell, she didn’t even read the law . . .

Yes this was a horrible law which was vaguely written and had a highly dubious rationale. And I would have been perfectly content if Judge Cooke had thrown it out based on those criteria. But . . . six times in a 25 page ruling, Judge Cooke uses the phrase “truthful, non-misleading speech/information.” She sums up her objection quite well when she says:

What is curious about this law—and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech—is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient . . .

FOPA did nothing of the sort. If you read the bill you will discover that it prohibits a doctor from asking or recording information about firearm ownership[1] and prohibits a doctor from dropping a patient who refuses to talk about firearm ownership.

She also undermines one of the other arguments against the law, that doctors don’t have time to discuss irrelevant information with patients so they needed to be able to ask about gun ownership:

The purpose of preventive medicine is to discuss with a patient topics that, while perhaps not relevant to a patient’s medical safety at the time, informs the patient about general concerns that may arise in the future.

Again there is absolutely nothing in FOPA which precluded a doctor providing such information; all it did was prohibit asking about and recording gun ownership information.

All that being said, I am glad the law is dead, but it just wouldn’t be a “victory” for the antis without some lies and bogus numbers thrown in, would it? By way of the Miami Herald we hear from Dan Gross (new prez of the Brady Bunch):

“Guns in the home are a proven deadly risk,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, said in a statement following Cooke’s decision. “Guns kill eight children every day. …”

Going to our friendly neighborhood CDC WISQARS website it only takes a minute or two of research to find that when he says “children” Dan is talking about people up to and including 19 years old. In fact, looking at actual, you know, children (0 – 13 years) we find that Dan is off by an order of magnitude.

Instead of 2920 (365×8) per year, from 1999 to 2009 we actually have an average of 281 a year. Which is also a misleading number, since counseling parents about guns in the home won’t affect the number of children killed, nor (since rates are independent of method) will it affect suicide rates. So just looking at accidental shooting deaths of children up to 13 years old from 2005 through 2009, we have an average of 53 per year, or a hair over one per week.

One child a week accidentally killed with a gun is still a terrible tragedy. But given that fifteen children are murdered with something other than a firearm every week, maybe the children the Bradys purport to cherish so much would be better served if they directed their efforts elsewhere.

[1] Absent a “good faith belief” that such information is relevant; a standard so vague as to warrant dumping the law by itself.

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  1. Hospitals asking patients about domestic violence in the home.
    Doctors asking about guns in the home.
    Some schools asking kids how many guns are in the home, what TV shows get watched by the family, do the parents argue, etc.

    What’s next; asking children in class if their parents are loyal to the Party and the Nation’s Leader?

    • You forgot them calling the police if they suspect there is a gun shot wound. Or forcing blood draws if a cop brings in a suspect which he suspects is under the influence of something.

    • What’s next; asking children in class if their parents are loyal to the Party and the Nation’s Leader?

      They pretty much all ready do, when you consider they are forced to recite the pledge of allegiance and to under go DARE training.

  2. Its just another way for them to pad the bill. The last time I was in the ER, I had to grab the nurse to keep him from injecting me with drugs which do nothing. I still dont know how they justify a bill over $3,000, for pumping a couple bags of saline in to me, and a few minutes of human interaction.

    • I hear you Matt. Next time, get a suite at the Four Seasons, a thousand dollar ‘escort’ , an expensive meal and the most expensive bottle of booze (your choice) available. The next day, you probably won’t have much change from that $3000, but you will have the memories.

  3. Guns kill eight children every day.
    So that means my 16 guns kill 128 kids per day, even while I’m at work or sleeping! Impressive. That means I’m racking up a total of 46,592 snot nosed brats off the street per year. Maybe I could get a tax credit for lessening the burden on our public school system…..

    • not under Barry Hussein. Your tax credits are no longer yours and you should pay more for the privilege of the “hunt”.

  4. My doctor’s welcome to talk to me about guns. He might get more information about them than he ever wanted to hear. A law that should pass the standards of the Constitution would ban recording the discussion and would prevent doctors from dropping patients who refuse to give up their guns.

    I’m with Krafft here. Banning speech makes no more sense than banning guns.

  5. Doctor: do you have a gun in your home?
    Patient: do you?
    Doctor: uh well no I don’t.
    Patient: why not?
    Doctor: they are unsafe and kill innocent people.
    Patient: guns save far more innocent people than they harm. Empirical studies have proven that ___________. Are you aware ________. You obviously need to read about abc and xyz.
    Doctor: well I don’t believe that. Do you have a gun or maybe I already know the answer.
    Patient: no you don’t know the answer since I have not given you one. Do you have a sign on your front window that your home is a Gun Free Zone?
    Doctor: no, why should I do that?
    Patient: why not if you believe they bring more harm than good(?), and besides anyone coming over will know they can’t bring their gun with them into your home. Are you concerned potential thieves driving scoping out your nice neighborhood by might be less concerned breaking into a gun free home since it won’t be a threat to them?
    Doctor: Huh, oh I’ll just call the police if someone tries breaking in.
    Patient: You might only have seconds to defend your family and the police at best are minutes away sometimes far longer. How will you defend your children and spouse?
    Doctor: stop!

    • Your arguments are based on logic and fact. Antis can’t comprehend logic or fact. The destruction of their private fantasyworld in their heads is at stake; they’ll defend their warm embrace of lies and stupidity to the end.

      • Silver, thank you and you’ve made good points. Another question for the Doctor occurred to me:

        Patient: many people nowadays have concealed carry permits and carry a gun with them. Do you ask every adult that goes into your home if they have a gun on them?

    • You could also tell them there are only aprox 50,000 firearm related deaths per year in the united states, and aprox 195,000 medical negligence related deaths per year in the united states, therefor a doctor is four times more dangerous to you than a firearm is, eight times more if you exclude intentional suicides.

      • Matt, that number is 15,000 – not 50,000. That includes self defense and police shootings as well. If you want to further push it and include suicides, then it’s more like 30,000.

    • Reminds me of Liar Liar:

      Fletcher: “Objection, your honor!”
      Judge: “On what grounds?”
      Fletcher: “Because it’s devastating to my case!”

  6. Man, are there now MORE reports of inanimate guns killing people? Forget the guns, we need common sense black magic control. Find the sorcerers that are giving these guns self-awareness and the ability to move, and we’ll stop guns from killing people.

    Then we’ll just have to worry about PEOPLE using guns to kill people, or stupid, un-educated kids pulling triggers on themselves from unsecured guns left by negligent parents.

  7. Excessive high fructose corn syrup and over eating kills more kids than guns. Doctors need to really be worried more about those than guns in terms of medical health and damage to society. Death by type 2 diabetes is a slow and painful death.

  8. As an actual doctor in Florida, I, too, thought the law was anti-1A. (And you shoulda seen the first drafts of the law!) I can ask a patient anything I want…as they can with me.

    Heck, I talk about guns all the time with my patients, but for two reasons: 1) hearing protection…it’s important, and 2) it’s fun to discuss firearms…mine, theirs, whatever.

    Those (unfortunately including the NRA) who championed this law were just as silly as the anti-2A crowd in picking and choosing which parts of the amendments to the Constitution they wanted to follow.

    • Have you ever tracked the lead levels in a patient (or yourself) who shoots at a indoor range? I know whenever I shoot in doors i’m blowing black out of my nose for a couple hours afterwards. I’ve always wondered how much lead i’m taking in that way.

      • No (I’m a surgeon, so that’s not part of my usual routine). But there are some studies out there that have looked at it. It’s more of an issue for kids (who are more susceptible to lead toxicity at lower levels), so outdoor shooting or shooting at a well-ventilated indoor range is important. I was looking into just those studies when I was considering setting up a range in my home. But I gave up on research after the whole idea failed the spouse-approval test. 🙂

        • I’d be willing to bet a significant amount of lead might be introduced from cleaning the guns, too. When I perform a full clean on any of my guns, I wear gloves and a mask, in a well-ventilated area.

          P.S. “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”

      • If you shoot a lot indoors I would get it checked out since I wondered the same thing when I was going almost weekly for a month to a poorly ventilated range. My blood lead levels came back over the normally acceptable limit. It came back down after I stopped going there. Now only outdoor ranges for me, else I am wearing a lead approved mask.

  9. You say “counseling parents about guns in the home won’t affect the number of children killed.” I wonder about that.

    What if the counseling emphasizes how crucial it is to have guns locked safely away from children who may not understand the consequences of fiddling with them? If it gets people to be more safety-minded, then counseling very well could prevent a few accidental deaths, which would reduce the number of children killed.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you in general; it may be nitpicking, but I think this assertion isn’t logically defensible.

    • In my experience, once a doctor has adopted a form questionnaire, he will get pissy if the patient won’t fill it out, no matter how stupid, irrelevant, or outrageous the information sought. I went to a dentist once who used, instead of the typical 2 page form asking about dental health, a multi-page inquiry of one’s entire medical history, including mental health history. Do I really need to tell my dentist if I have “Ever been treated for mental illness?” That’s what the questionaire asked, rather than, “do you have any fears of anesthesia?” “Are you claustrophobic?” I questioned the questions, and this dentist became unglued that I would challenge his form.
      The same thing started happening in Florida, which led to the law. The AMA questionnaire is overbroad and excessvlely intrusive. And it was DEFINITELY biased against guns in the home–any one who admitted to owning firearms would be “counseled” to get rid of them, no matter how they were kept. Children are far more likely to be killed by pets and household poisons than they are by firearm accidents, and even more likely to be killed by child abuse/drugs/starvation. But those topics don’t appear on the form. In the view of many, including myself, the position of the AMA is purely a political stance against guns, not a reasoned approach to reducing risks of childhood injuries. And that’s why it is a problem.

      • Just to clarify a few incorrect assumptions about the AMA and patient questionnaires.

        1) The AMA is a left-leaning organization that exists to support itself and not doctors. In fact, only 29% of docs are members of the AMA and that number is dropping still. Most of us can’t stand the organization. I wish the public understood that the AMA does not represent physicians or the medical profession!

        2) The reason for some of the idiotically irrelevant information on our intake forms has to do with legal and regulatory requirements and insurance reimbursement, which now requires this sort of garbage as part of E&M coding (Evaluation and Management). Again, it’s over-regulation that’s driven this, not doctors and dentists. You wouldn’t believe the stupidity we have to go thru in the O.R. now…none of which has any measurable benefit for patients or us. But the bean counters love it.

  10. Bottom line!!! Too many LAWS. There s/b a new standard for the performace of your Reps. How many laws have they got rid of?

  11. This law isn’t perfect by any means (no law is), but there is a legitimate issue with doctors, patients, children, and guns. Doctors are mandatory reporters, if they suspect child abuse, neglect, violence, they are required by law to contact the police/protective services. Is it much of a stretch of the imagination for a very anti-gun doc to report a law abiding, responsible, parent as being neglegent for keeping a loaded gun in the house.


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