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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Pediatricians Still Fighting Florida Gun Law

By July 13, 2011

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As pediatricians continue to fight a new law in Florida that limits how they counsel parents about gun safety, we are already starting to see some consequences of the law.

Although the Florida gun law was supposedly written in a way that would allow pediatricians to continue to talk about gun safety if it was relevant, it would be left up to the Florida Board of Medicine, made up of appointees of the Governor, to decide what was relevant. Pediatricians could lose their medical license if a complaint was upheld against them because of this law.

That has led many pediatricians to already stop asking about gun safety, which they would routinely do at well child checkups.

Why ask about guns? In addition to simply reminding parents to secure their guns and to not leave loaded guns around the house, it is a good reminder that gun safety isn't only about guns. Gun safety also has to do with child development and the fact that many children will touch and play with guns that they find, which is a big reason why there are so many shooting accidents each year, like the 3-year-old who found a gun under her parent's mattress and shot herself in the head yesterday in St. Louis. Or the 10-year-old in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi who died last week after he shot himself in the chest with a gun he found in his grandfather's nightstand.

Does your pediatrician ask you about guns in your home? If he or she does, instead of trying to pass laws to make them stop or accusing them of having an agenda, how about thinking about their real motivation - keeping your kids safe from unsecured guns.

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