January 18th, 2011
09:51 PM ET

Kids, Guns & Politics: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Child safety experts say doctors should ask kids and their parents about whether they have a gun in the house. So why do some Florida state lawmakers want to throw doctors in jail for doing just that? We're Keeping Them Honest. Plus, tonight's other headlines.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Hi all,
    This type of questioning is none of the drs business. Furthermore the answer does not affect the capability of the doctor to do a good job. Why can't they just do the job most adults bring their children to them for. It's the parents job to make sure their home is safe for their family. Why is it people feel it neccesary to fix others when most can't take care of their own problems; Doctors included.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  2. Starr, formerly known as vincent

    I LOve it! Sarah Palin being asked to "tone it down" by fellow conservative. And, her response is she is not going to "shut up".

    I agree with the fellow conservatives. Palin needs to back off and soften her tone for the time being.
    I think her behavior demonstrates how UNprepared she is for Any political office!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  3. Marguerite

    I also live in Florida and every time they turn around it seems they come up witha new one conccerning guns.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  4. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    i would like to see Sarah Palin be humble enough to be accountable for her actions. She always defends her words and actions and when others are offended, that is not very attactive.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Rob

    The bill says that *asking* about guns violates the patient's family's privacy and *that alone* will get you a mega-fine. Plain and simple.

    And if, as the poorly-spoken gentleman from Florida asserted, the $5,000,000 is meant as a deterrent, the by all means, let's make DUI fines $5,000,000! DUI problem solved!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  6. Erica

    This bill isnt just about pediatricians, this is about all physicians. If a patient comes to a physician battered by a partner, that physician shoud be able to ask if their partner has a gun. If a patient with psychiatric issues is contemplating suicice, that psychiatrist needs to be able to ask if the patient has a gun. Physicians can't treat appropriately without all the facts.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  7. Todd

    Lance G.

    I suppose you have a government job or possibly on sort of assistance. Our Government is out of control, that's why the Republican's have control again. I'm just saying, look at the Health Care Bill, 18,000 new government agancies to monitor Health Care, come on!!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  8. Harry

    What your neighbor has is none of your business!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Janette

    A doctor refusing to treat a patient because they will not answer a question about their private household is absurd! The majority of gun owners are critically aware of gun safety around children. The other type of gun owners would either lie about owning a gun to begin with, or never take the advice given to them if they did own up to it. The pediatricians need to stick to their job of treating childhood ilnesses, and quit trying to "parent" the parents.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  10. Stephanie

    Dr's don't need to know if you have a gun or not. If you are a parent,you should know to keep guns away from your children.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Sandy Stetzel

    Why don't people realize that all that Sarah cares about is the money she is making and the attention she is getting? She is very transparent, it is such a shame we live in a country that has so many people who are blind to her motives. WAKE UP!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Shelley Eastman

    Why can't the Doctors say "IF" you have firearms/guns, then consider storing them in a safe manner (ex: leave unloaded, remove from child access, lock the items up and/or use trigger locks,etc..). The Doctors can inform the incidents of accidental shootings by or of children. There is no need to ask whether the family has firearms. SSE / TN

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Jo Ann, Ohio

    Why doesn't the media just stop covering Palin and talking about her?

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  14. Lori

    I really think that Sarah Palin's comment really shows where her priority is and it is not the public's welfare.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  15. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Thanks Tom for info!!!!!! That is so shocking new info! *WHEW!*

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  16. Eric

    Its insane that a mental health official cannot ask about ask about a gun even if the patient is a danger to their selves or others

    January 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  17. Vivien, NYC

    The way I hear it the proposed law is to protect parents from having to answer if they have guns. It states that gun ownership is a privacy issue meaning the parents can refuse to answer not that the question can't be asked. The doctor can ask and discuss gun safety but the law is proposing that if the parents refuse to answer the doctor cannot refuse treatment.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Sharon Hastings

    I prefer the second part. It's okay with me if she doesn't sit down.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  19. Mike

    Why do doctors have to ask if there is a gun in the household to talk to children about gun safety? What harm would it do to talk to kids about pool safty if you don't have a pool?

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  20. Kathy

    As a researcher who used to work for the American Academy of Pediatrics and currently works for the University of Florida, I am stunned by the ignorant nature of this proposed law. We did several studies showing the importance of education about safety issues by pediatricians, including gun safety. It is vitally important for pediatricians to discuss these issues with parents in order to protect children. As a Florida citizen, I will do what I can to make sure this law doesn't pass.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  21. David

    I'm a Floridian and frankly I am embarrassed that our state legislators are evening discussing such a ridiculous bill! There is nothing wrong with a doctor asking a simple question about guns in the home relative to the health and safety of family members. The legislators sponsoring this bill is a prime example of what's wrong with Florida government!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  22. Brian Quigley

    its a country in distress. I have only read of Rome. this is that.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  23. Katerina

    I watch your show every night Anderson,'
    Tonight I am wondering if doctors even have time to ask Patients about Gun's.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  24. Steve

    I thought the Florida legislator said that the law doesn't prevent/prohibit the doctor from discussing gun safety, it prohibits the doctor from asking if the parents have guns in the home. That makes sense to me . . . why does the doctor need to know if the parents have a gun or guns in the house. He (or she) can give his/her spiel on locking them up, without ever finding out if, or how many, guns that parents have. (Plus, most docs don't know as much about gun safety as the average 6th grader . . . how are you going to qualify a doctor to teach gun safety?)

    January 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  25. Lin

    As a licensed clinical social worker we are taught to ask about firearms when a depressed person is in the house and at risk of suicide. Will this law prohibit this inquiry?? Would be a very dangerous step for mental health.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  26. Marguerite

    My dad pounded gun safety into myself, my mom and my siblings since i was a 8 years old till i was 18.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  27. Billy Williams

    It should not be against the law for doctors not to ask about firearms. 99.9% of the children that's having these types of accident are European American children. The parents are not taking the time to mention the relationship they are having with their friends, their behavior on the computer, and trying to be the child's friend instead of the parent. This bill is outrageous that I hope it will never be passed.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  28. Andrew

    The only people that should have guns are the authorities. There should be a law in place for anyone who is caught with a gun -should face immediate jail time.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  29. Starr, formerly known as vincent

    I heard that the shooter put plugs in his ears before he shot.
    This is premeditation to me.
    I don't think he will be able to claim insanity defense!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  30. Harry

    Teaching responsible people to use firearms properly, actually protects the public at large... statistically proven. This is why some states and municipalities are trying to advocate gun use and training to law abiding citizens, as it lowers the crime rate significantly!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  31. niwat kurusattra, chicago

    @Todd, It's also part of Peds's duty to ensure household safetyfor little ones, thereby general guidelines must be given to new parents about baby foods, child-proof stationary for example and that may sometimes leads to firearms.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  32. Deepti

    Kids can't smoke, can't drink or drive how can we let a house with kids should be allowed to keep loaded guns? Even if they are not harming how can we guarantee that one day they will lot take it to a play ground or school and kill one of our kids and even themselves.
    If Doctors have to check on everything even the hazardous cleaning materials in house then why can't Doctors ask and report the deadly weapons?
    I think we should have the houses with guns clearly marked. I am interested to know if my neighbours have the guns. I won't let my kids go there. I don't want a crazy kid pulling out a loaded gun if they do not agree on a toy!!
    And Jail for Doctors for the safety of the kids....??? Where are we living?

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  33. Lisa in Louisville

    Teachers are required to report suspected child abuse – isn't this even more of an invasion of privacy than a doctor asking about guns in the home? Will we now start jailing and fining our teachers?

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  34. Greg Van Meter

    It sounds to me that the representative of the bill never denied that the bill prevented pediatricians from asking if they own a gun...It sounded to me that he was just saying that the bill doesn't prevent pediatricians from providing patients with information about gun safety.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  35. Amanda

    As a pediatrician, this truly bothers me. As was pointed out, gun safety is an important issue and tragedy affects families all over the US each year. Doctors have to talk with their patients and their patients' families about lots of issues that may be difficult to discuss for the family as well as the doctor. However, it does not mean that these issues should be ignored just because their discussion may be uncomfortable.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  36. Jeremy

    I just caught the tail end of your report on this Florida bill. What exactly is going on in the States? I still don't see why everyone down there feels they need weapons, and if they do, why they feel it's no one else's business.

    Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  37. Paula, Colorado

    It seems gun safety could be discussed without having to know whether a gun is or is not present in the home.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  38. Emily

    I don't think anywhere in the Hippocratic Oath does it say that an MD can refuse to treat someone whose a gun owner. (or the family member of one, esp. if it's a child).

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  39. Dave

    People should be free to talk to their doctors about any health concerns, and doctors should have the right to ask questions to determine how best to treat their patients.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  40. Don Parkhill

    I really don't understand how this is an issue. A doctor is speaking to you about the safety of your children and there's an issue?? This is a no brainer. Over 5000 kids killed in accidents with firearms should say enough.
    If you have kids, don't have guns in the house. Handguns are made for one thing. To kill people!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  41. Sharon Hastings

    Whose "privacy" is violated? The child's who accidentally kills his 2 year old brother with the handgun left around or the parent's privacy who left it unlocked and loaded?? It's a shame that this is so blown out of proportion. There are so many tragic things happening with guns and children that's it's perfectly appropriate to address it.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  42. Samantha

    I thought doctors were bound by the Hippocratic Oath to ethically treat patients in their care. By owning a swimming pool, a firearm or any other possible household hazard, should that sway a doctor to refuse treatment?

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  43. Jeff

    It worries me that gun ownership spawns paranoia.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  44. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    Why is it the doctors place to ask whether not there is a gun in the home? I didn't get that. Maybe after the doctors treated a gun wound, perhaps!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  45. Harry

    I can't believe that AMERICANS, people who should covet the rights our country was founded on, can even have the discussion. Of course, it's absurd to have a Doctor ask anything personal....it's none of thoer damned business if a gun is in there!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  46. Kaytee

    Andrew, Canada said: Just don't ask, instead start the conversation with "If you have firearms in the house, this my advice..."
    Seems like a non-issue to me.

    Best post about this topic. I with you. Problem solved, next...

    January 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  47. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    my hometown state, Many kids had play around and he just accident shot other kid, or friend..... I was so shocked, awe, so disappointed, parents must to know what happened to kid who shot his/her friends.... Parents have to be aware to keep their guns away from kids find a place safety.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  48. Jared Mink

    This bill doesn't make it illegal for a doctor to ask about gun, it gives a patient the option to declare that a private question. Without the law, someone can't opt out of the question at all.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  49. Lisa in Louisville

    $5 million fine and 5 years in jail? Why don't we use penalties this stiff on murderers and rapists? I can't imagine any doctor refusing to treat a child...don't they take the Hypocratic Oath? This is another example of the government wasting time and money on bills that are just ridiculous!

    January 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  50. Michelle

    This FL bill seems contrary to public safety, especially that of our children. It's common sense that a Dr. should discuss potential safety issues in the home–guns being one of them.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
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