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FL bill could muzzle doctors on gun safety

NPR, May 9, 2011

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a bill that will make the state the first in the nation to prohibit doctors from asking patients if they own guns. The bill is aimed particularly at pediatricians, who routinely ask new parents if they have guns at home and if they're stored safely. Pediatricians say it's about preventing accidental injuries. Gun rights advocates say the doctors have a political agenda. As parents know, pediatricians ask a lot of questions. Dr. Louis St. Petery says it's all part of what doctors call "anticipatory guidance" -- teaching parents how to safeguard against accidental injuries. Pediatricians ask about bike helmets, seat belts and other concerns. "If you have a pool, let's talk about pool safety so we don't have accidental drownings," he says. "And if you have firearms, let's talk about gun safety so that they're stored properly -- you know, the gun needs to be locked up, the ammunition stored separate from the gun, etc., so that children don't have access to them.