Pediatrician Asks, Why Can’t I Talk To You About Guns In The Home?

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 11 months ago


Here’s a conversation I was in on recently between a pediatric intern and the parents of a healthy, 1-day-old baby. It occurred in the Yale-New Haven Hospital well baby nursery.

“Your daughter’s physical exam is perfect,” the intern said. “She’s eating well, peeing and pooping well. I want to talk to you a little about how to help you keep her safe and healthy.”

Next came a standard discussion about the baby’s sleeping position and whether she’s got a car seat. Then, the next question:

“Do you have any guns in the home?”

Suddenly, the genial tone changed.

“I don’t think you should ask that question,” said the child’s father.

“Should I take that as a ‘yes’?” the intern pressed.

“I just don’t think you should ask.”

“Sir, we ask because we want to make sure that your baby is as safe as she can be, making sure you keep any guns locked up and away from her.”

“It’s none of your business.”

What started out as a lovely interaction between two new parents and the pediatric intern, with me observing, suddenly turned into the reprimands of an angry father. No matter how the pediatric resident and I tried to explain that we were asking for the safety of his newborn daughter, he persisted in telling us it was none of our business and not relevant for the child’s health. The mother sat silent in her hospital bed.

This really shouldn’t be controversial.

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged primary care providers to discuss firearm safety with families. This reflects the influential group’s acknowledgment that keeping a gun locked and unloaded dramatically reduces the risk of firearms accidents, and the belief that brief counseling by physicians promotes safer storage of guns in homes with children.

Still, sadly, some controversy remains.

[ … ]

This means if you’re a Florida pediatrician, no asking about guns in the home or documenting them in the chart of a baby or young child …

This commentary was written by Marjorie S. Rosenthal, assistant director of the Yale Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and associate research scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at the Yale University School of Medicine.

You see Marjorie, the fallen nature of mankind is wicked.  That means that totalitarians of all stripes want to exercise control over others.  The desire to exercise control over other people is often sinful.  Every genocide in modern history was preceded by gun confiscations.  As you know, the government has exceptions to medical privacy laws, and with the stroke of a pen (followed on by thousands of pages of federal register notice that explains how the executive intends to carry out his nefarious plans), those laws can be expanded.  The last little bit … “or documenting them in the chart of a baby or young child,” is a big part of the problem.

We know that you would willingly turn in records of gun owners to the government, enabling confiscatory measures and schemes.  Furthermore, we really don’t want your counsel on how we handle our guns.   We would prefer that you spend your time and focus on medicine.  For instance, the human error rate in medicine is still much higher than the commercial nuclear power industry, commercial airlines and pharmaceutical industries (all of which practice and focus on human error reduction tools and techniques).  We would prefer that you study disease, diagnosis, pathologies, biology and pharmacology as opposed to trying to understand the mechanics of machinery or fix the error rate for anyone else.  Tend to your own house and get it in order.  It’s a mess.

So to summarize, the gentleman you cited in the initial example was kind to you, kinder that I will be.  As for whether this has to be controversial, you’re right.  It certainly doesn’t have to be.  Mind your own damn business.  Now I have a few questions for you, beginning with this one.  What is your favorite position for sex?

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  1. On May 12, 2016 at 5:52 am, Lina Inverse said:

    Another response to consider is “You’re fired”, seeing as how doctors by and large work for you. Tell them it’s a boundary violation as noted by the first article commentator (words of art more often used for things like sexual relations with a psychiatric patient, but it should put them on notice that this is a serious thing), walk out of the appointment, or in this case, tell them you’ll be retaining another pediatrician (like the Iowa farm boy my father and I hunted with before I went to college), and demand they leave the room, they’ve already told you your baby is healthy, nothing more is needed.

    Of course, this being in Massachusetts, where gross violations of parental rights by doctors is notorious, you might want to be more circumspect, but then again, why the hell are you still in the state in the first place?

  2. On May 12, 2016 at 7:06 am, theBuckWheat said:

    Since with liberals, an issue is always far more about the end social goal than about the immediate narrow aspects, the question to always ask is: to what end?

    To what end do you demand to know if I am exercising my civil right to keep and bear arms? Clearly in the liberal context, it is to 1) get that information on my file for some future use against me; 2) to use as a basis to scold me; 3) to use as a basis for prejudicing any health care decisions or decisions about my suitability as a parent or suitability of my home in light of dealing with government child “welfare” agencies.

    This is not an honest question. If the goal were to reduce accidental child deaths, then the question would be in the context of common items in the home that are even more fatal to children, like open buckets.

    1 Unintentional Injury 1176 38.97%
    * Motor Vehicle Traffic 621 20.58%
    * Drowning 159 5.27%
    * Fire/burn 153 5.07%
    * Suffocation 40 1.33%
    * Other Land Transport 33 1.09%
    * Pedestrian, Other 27 0.89%
    * Struck by or Against 20 0.66%
    * Unspecified 20 0.66%
    * Fall 18 0.60%

    Sir, do you have a bucket in the house that is not locked up?

    The better response might be: Have you seen this article in the Washington Post (1) with the headline, Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States? The better question today would be: have you put your child’s life at risk by taking them to a medical professional?

    In short, to quote Stephen Hicks in his book Explaining Post-Modernism, only for use if possible as a weapon against me.


  3. On May 13, 2016 at 7:59 am, John G. Brilhart said:

    Exactly!!! The issue is not, nor has it ever been, about saving lives. It’s about CONTROL! If these docs really wanted to save lives, they’d focus more on ways to reduce medical malpractice–which, by the way, is the 3rd leading cause of death in America. Firearm accidents pale in comparison.

  4. On May 12, 2016 at 7:39 am, Fred said:

    12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery
    7000 deaths per year due to medication errors in hospitals
    20,000 deaths per year due to other errors in hospitals
    80,000 deaths per year due to infections in hospitals
    106,000 deaths per year due to negative effects of drugs
    America’s healthcare-system-induced deaths are the third leading cause of the death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer.

    Matt 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt
    thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    “The desire to exercise control over other people is often sinful.”
    Here I was, Mr. Smith, thinking, wow, that really is generous, How nice.
    Then I read this; “What is your favorite position for sex?”
    Nope, still Herschel. Smile.

  5. On May 12, 2016 at 9:52 am, Andy said:

    My standard response has always been “No” Just a bold faced lie, stare them right in the eyes and say NO, I don’t have any guns. They are building a database, don’t kid yourself. Any other reply other than NO is a yes to them. Lie to them.

  6. On May 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm, Chris said:

    Absolutely! Practice saying it with a shocked (shocked!) face. Feign horror. Since they are impermissibly intruding into your private life, you owe them no duty of honesty.
    Then follow up with a sincere question about the 3rd leading cause of death – medical error – and ask them is they are certain they have made no errors in the current visit.

  7. On May 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm, rumcrookâ„¢ said:

    That’s exactly what I did. I spoke calmly passively and lied. Your right it is to make a notation on the file that the parents have guns in the house and those files will be used. In new York a man with a concealed carry permit had a prescription for an antidepressant because, I beleive his wife died and he was depressed, the state police went fishing through the pharmacies of new Yorks prescriptions and looked for names of permit holders and matched them up to prescriptions then they went to his home and confiscated his pistol. He sued, I don’t know the outcome, it was couple years ago I beleive.

  8. On May 12, 2016 at 9:56 am, lipnstac said:

    I’d have broomed that doctor right then and there.

  9. On May 12, 2016 at 10:24 am, Christus_Regeln said:

    Hey doctor/intern, do you a computer in your home with unprotected internet where the child might accidentally see the pornography you watch? Do you have a late-model car with proper safety features? Do you have locks on all your doors? What, you don’t want to answer? Go to hell.

  10. On May 12, 2016 at 11:23 am, Wibbins said:

    I would ask if the doc knew the 4 rules of gun safety, if he didn’t I would tell him to stick to curing sick people

  11. On May 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm, Jack Smith said:

    Ask them about their sexual history, it’s important to know that they are not spreading an illness to your child. If your personal life is their business, their personal life should be yours.

  12. On May 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Petty little tyrants are everywhere. Fuck them all. With a rusty chainsaw. Sideways.

  13. On May 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm, Francis W. Porretto said:

    Don’t forget to start the chainsaw.

  14. On May 12, 2016 at 1:51 pm, Big Boss said:

    Ammoland currently has a story that doctors kill 23 times more people than guns do.

  15. On May 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm, Bruce Abbott said:

    I’ve got my own response all teed up; “medical mis-adventures kill somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 people a year; when you’ve cleaned that mess up, get back to me.”

  16. On May 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm, Francis W. Porretto said:

    My response would have been “Are you an authority on firearms, firearm handling, or firearm storage? Because I read about it widely, and I’ve never seen anything from you even remotely related to the subject!”

  17. On May 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm, Rick said:

    Followed up with “How does your insurance underwriter feel about you practicing in an area where you have no qualifications?

    If they haven’t had enough, ask them if they know what a “boundary violation” is.

  18. On May 12, 2016 at 3:06 pm, Josh said:

    Medical error kills approximately 700 people per day in the US. It is now the third leading cause of death in the US, and accounts for roughly 8 times as many deaths as firearms:

    Tend to your own house, indeed.

  19. On May 12, 2016 at 8:48 pm, Deserttrek said:

    the doctor needs a spanking and the academy of pediatrics needs a sever spanking … I am being polite

  20. On May 12, 2016 at 9:16 pm, jack burton said:

    the vast majority of the comments on the NRP site are against the doctor and for the pro-freedom side. Now that is amazing.

  21. On May 12, 2016 at 9:53 pm, Robert T said:

    If they were truly just worried about safety, they would give a handout to parents of all new patients, and not need to ask any specific questions. But they aren’t.

  22. On May 13, 2016 at 10:35 am, inerlogic said:

    the only answer to that question is “no”

  23. On May 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm, Kristophr said:

    Complain to the state medical board.

    This is a medical ethics violation, specifically a “boundary violation”, using your position as a doctor to promote a political agenda.

  24. On May 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm, Bill in Tennessee said:

    Another response (and totally sane) is to look the miscreant medico right in the eyes and say, “Why no, I hate those things!” Lying to authority will be the new norm, or should be, as they will always report to even higher authorities. If you want to soften it a bit and be at least partially truthful, one could say, “No, I don’t own a single gun,” because you really own DOZENS of guns. Beat these morons at their own game, just lie to their faces.

  25. On May 13, 2016 at 8:41 pm, Phelps said:

    I’m in Texas, so they’ve never asked, but my plan if that happens is to ask what training the Doctor has on gun safety and the law, and whether or not his malpractice carrier knows that he is conducting gun safety classes in his office, with no qualifications or training to do so.

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You are currently reading "Pediatrician Asks, Why Can’t I Talk To You About Guns In The Home?", entry #15194 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published May 11th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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