“Say ‘Ahhh.’ Does Daddy Have A Gun?

What is it with pediatricians? Why are they so nosey; so politically correct?  Why can’t they just treat their young patients and quit bothering the kids and their parents with invasive questions on matters having nothing to do with the practice of pediatric medicine?

Legislators in Florida finally have had it with nosey pediatricians asking children improper questions relating to whether their parents have firearms in the home; and they have acted to stop the practice.

Here’s the situation.  Your child goes to the doctor for an illness. The physician conducts the normal examine; asking if your child has the sniffles or a sore throat. And then, out of the blue, the doctor asks if you keep a gun in your home. This actually is a question the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages doctors to ask families.  It is considered part of an effort to “counsel” and educate parents on ways to prevent incidents from occurring in the home.

What exactly does this have to do with practicing medicine? Absolutely nothing.  Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, rightly believes it has everything with pushing a political and anti-gun agenda.

Hammer noted in an editorial published by the Tallahassee Democrat, that parents “have become concerned about whether those records can be used by the government or by insurance companies to deny health care coverage because a family exercises a civil right in owning firearms.”

This concern is not unfounded. According to the Ocala Star-Banner, Amber Ullman, a mother from Ocala, refused to answer the question posed by her child’s doctor, and was told “she had 30 days to find a new pediatrician.”

SB 432, a bill passed last week by the Florida Senate, will stop doctors from prying into the private lives of families by asking children or their parents if there is a gun in the home. This effort has paired unlikely partners — the National Rifle Association and the Florida Medical Association.   These groups have worked to improve the legislation.

Reflecting the fact that occasionally a doctor may see a patient he considers to be potentially suicidal, the legislation was modified to provide an exception to the prohibited questions in such cases.  The bill also has been amended to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing a premium based on the fact the person owns a gun.

Of course, the AAP doesn’t like this legislation. But this hardly is surprising, considering the organization openly supported the city of Chicago’s draconian anti-gun ordinance that last year was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court – a ruling the child doctors found “distressing.”  To them, the appropriate solution to children being harmed by firearms is simply to “get guns out of their homes, their neighborhoods and where they play.”

Apparently, the Hippocratic Oath taken by these pediatricians includes a footnote to ignore the Second Amendment guaranteeing Americans the right to own a firearm.

Other opponents of the bill say the anti-gun questioning is harmless; and essentially no different than asking if a family has a swimming pool. Clearly the questions are not the same and the potential impact on families is quite different.  However, the fact is that neither line of questioning is appropriate; and such inquiries, whether about guns or pools, have nothing to do with identifying and treating childhood illnesses or injuries.

While parents should educate their children on the dangers of irresponsible firearms use, just as they should teach them the dangers of playing around a swimming pool or sticking their finger in a wall socket, this is their job as parents.  Permitting doctors to pressure children to snitch on their parents and confess whether there may be a firearm in the home, is neither appropriate policy nor proper medical practice.  And the Florida legislature is correct in moving to put a stop to it.

-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

70 comments Add your comment


May 2nd, 2011
6:12 am

Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I was never asked this.


May 2nd, 2011
6:31 am

This is needed…how am I going to confiscate all of the weapons unless I know who has them.

Bobb Bar the door.

May 2nd, 2011
7:11 am

Bob Barr is……WRONG!! It was a question such as this what led those Navy Seals to wax Bin Laden. And now you know the REST of the story……..good day!


May 2nd, 2011
7:13 am

our old Gwinnett practice asked this question at every well visit. Thankfully our new practice does not.

Dr. Pangloss

May 2nd, 2011
7:32 am

Oh Lord! Pediatricians are concerned about children’s safety! The concentration camps open tomorrow!

(If the government tells doctors what questions they can ask their patients, isn’t that another case of the evil government on our backs?)

Barr Fan

May 2nd, 2011
7:35 am

According to “Freakonomics,” a child is 100 times more likely to drown in homes with swimming pools than to be shot to death in homes with firearms. When are we going to stop this swimming pool madness!?

urban redneck

May 2nd, 2011
7:45 am

that’s dumb. mind your own beez wax. nothing wrong with guns. just lock them up and teach your children to respect them.

what a great day. crazy mixture of emotions. God bless our troops, our country and our President.

Shannon, M.Div.

May 2nd, 2011
7:47 am

Really? Insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to adjust rates based on measurable statistics? Doctors shouldn’t be allowed to ask their patients whether they have risk factors? Tsk, Barr, tsk. I usually give you credit for consistency (no small feat for the libertarian/Tea Party mentality of “stay out of my life, government, so long as you regulate things I don’t like”), but this isn’t very “small government” of you.

What’s that? You don’t believe a gun is a risk factor? Well, sure, you can deny it, but just remember that you are advocating government intervention in private business.

Tsk, Barr, tsk.

A Conservative Voice

May 2nd, 2011
7:54 am

This is just one step on the way for wour socialist president? to try to control his subjects. Mr. Obummer, I say this to you……”you’ll never, ever be successful in getting all our guns and ammunition. Folks, be careful, he’s trying to take over the healthcare industry and if that’s successful, he may well be able to tell the doctors they have to ask and may require the answer given to be put on the patients “OnLine” chart which by then will be in a national network. It is not silly to oppose this seemingly harmless query.

EJ Moosa

May 2nd, 2011
7:59 am

Health care premiums under Obamacare are not based on risk.

That’s why it will lose money every year.


May 2nd, 2011
7:59 am

I agree that the presence of guns in the home is not the doctor’s business. But telling the doctor what he can ask and what he can’t is not the government’s business.

Parents can change doctors. They can tell the doc to mind his own business. They can ignore his questions and advice. They can look after themselves and do not need a government butting into their relationship with their doctor.

And the Second Amendment has nothing to do with this. The right to bear arms is not being infringed if the doctor asks about guns or even if he advises against guns or even if he refuses to treat children whose parents have guns.

Chip in N GA

May 2nd, 2011
8:13 am

We stopped taking our kids to pediatricians years ago. We couldn’t find one who wasn’t arrogant and condescending. (I suppose we backwards, banjo-playing hicks just couldn’t impress them.)

Instead, we are fortunate to have an “old-school” family doctor who we can trust. He gets our health-care dollars. And by the way… he joined me on a turkey hunt the other week. =)


May 2nd, 2011
8:26 am

For all the Liberals who advocate this type of inquiry….here little lemming I have your cliff ready. Please do your part to support the Tea Party, they are all that stands between us and ruin by this Socialist President.


May 2nd, 2011
8:31 am

I’m not sure why Pediatricians would need to ask this. Are they also asking the child which poisonous house-hold cleaners are stored under kitchen and bathroom sinks?

sean in the Mtns

May 2nd, 2011
8:41 am

Just last week a 8 year old kid brought a loaded gun to school and accidentally shot himself.

If you want to leave loaded guns laying around for your kids to play with and accidentally kill themselves thats fine, perhaps thats Darwin at work thinning out the ignorant. But please don’t endanger the rest of us and our children.


May 2nd, 2011
8:49 am

GB- “And the Second Amendment has nothing to do with this. The right to bear arms is not being infringed if the doctor asks about guns or even if he advises against guns or even if he refuses to treat children whose parents have guns.”

Yea! Who cares if the doctor refuses to see patients because they have gun! Why should it matter if they (according to our constitution) are allowed to have them?? Who cares that women/blacks now have the right to vote, or that slavery is now illegal! I think everyone should be able to pick and choose what laws they want to follow or whether or not the constitution says a right is guaranteed!


May 2nd, 2011
8:57 am

You may be on to something! Perhaps other businesses can weed out “bad” clients!
-Banks should run background checks and not allow criminals to open accounts or get mortgages through them.
-The DMV should not allow people who require glasses to drive, bc they could forget them one day and they may try to drive without them.
-Swimming pools should not be permitted in neighborhoods where children may live.
-Any child seeking to own a bicycle must attend 50 hours of approved bicycling safety courses.
-Cleaning supplies must be locked in a retina-scanning safe


May 2nd, 2011
9:19 am

Bob, not sure if you heard yet, but Osama Bin Laden is dead.


May 2nd, 2011
9:33 am

A true responsible gun owner KNOWS that you never, ever admit that you own a gun. Keep it under wraps and use it for your pleasure at the gun range or for protection. So the question is, do I own a gun or do I not own a gun. Only I know for sure.


May 2nd, 2011
10:03 am

My wife told me that a nurse working for the pediatrician that we go to asked this question. I was upset but I haven’t heard anything else about it in about 2-3 years. So maybe this is a concern that should be looked into here in Georgia.

Dr. Pangloss

May 2nd, 2011
10:10 am

May 2nd, 2011
8:31 am

I’m not sure why Pediatricians would need to ask this. Are they also asking the child which poisonous house-hold cleaners are stored under kitchen and bathroom sinks?


Of course, they ask those very same questions.


May 2nd, 2011
10:35 am

Ask me when my kid isn’t present and I’ll tell you. Ask me in the presence of my 4-year-old and I’m going to lie.

If there are guns safely stored in the house, do the pediatricians really want to be the ones who reveal that to kids?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 2nd, 2011
10:44 am

Good morning all. Our medical practitioner has asked that question, which I regard as inane. That physicians are not smart enough to appreciate the value of self-defense weapons does not necessarily challenge their competence in those matters for which they are schooled.

Osama bin Laden

May 2nd, 2011
11:05 am



May 2nd, 2011
11:46 am

We should pass a law saying doctors can’t ask questions about swimming pools and make it against the law to deny or increase the cost insurance based on pool ownership. . It is time that responsible pool owners were protected.

Insurance equals Slavery

May 2nd, 2011
11:56 am

We had a doctor whose nurses called social services to try to have our children taken away from us because Daddy is “too old.” The doctor did not know what the nurses did – this was done behind the doctor’s back. Usually, the nurses are the hardest-headed and God forbid they should see you as some snippy parent because you do not immediately adhere to their thinking and opinions.

We were asked if we had guns, and yes, this IS reported to the insurance companies. Home Insurance inspectors want to see the INSIDE of the house because they will also grade you on your housekeeping. The standard inspection form now carries a field for “house keeping.” Dirty house? Higher premiums. There is a universal blacklist BTW – if you have called OSHA or the EPA or the EEOC on your employer, future employers can use “risk management data firms” that are “business partners” or “business associates” with cell phone carriers, the Government, and other service providers such as utilities and corporations. Info brokers are used to deny “problems” the right to work in some states, as several professions require a corporation or company to hold one’s license.

Vaccines are reported when given and staff adamantly REFUSED to hand over Manufacturers Insert paperwork detailing a vaccine as containing Thimerosal until we threatened to leave. Staff advertised the vaccine as non-thimerosal when in fact, there was Thimerosal. They lied.

Staff tried to bully us into starting the vaccine series (8 shots) four weeks EARLY. They get scored based on “Vaccine Completion Ratio” by the insurance companies, and the doctors with the highest ratios get referred the most. Plus, each shot gets the doctor’s practice around $200. Per shot.


May 2nd, 2011
12:04 pm

I don’t like nosey questions either, but the proper libertarian response is “to find a new pediatrician”. Government has no more business controlling what questions doctors ask than it does controlling abortions.

If someone wants to compromise with their pediatrician, perhaps they can persuade the doctor to drop the question but have gun safety leaflets available in the waiting room, which people can take or not as they see fit. Preferably this would be leaflets which would distinguish between guns that are just for hunting and target practice and guns that are for defense if needed.

Henry Grady

May 2nd, 2011
12:31 pm

“However, the fact is that neither line of questioning is appropriate; and such inquiries, whether about guns or pools, have nothing to do with identifying and treating childhood illnesses or injuries.”

Barr you are such a dumba$$. If you cared at all about facts, you would know that gun accidents kill about 70 children b/w the age of 1-14 and accidental drownings kill around 700 children b/w the age of 1-14 EACH YEAR!!! How you don’t understand what those questions have to do with ‘identifying childhood injuries’ is beyond me.

Keep government out of my doctors office!!!!*

*unless it has to do with guns, then the government needs to be involved.(hypocrites)

Insurance equals Slavery

May 2nd, 2011
12:39 pm


Here is the scientist who fought against the Autism to Vaccine link. Indicted of fraud in his research.

All *I* really know, is that my child was hospitalized (2005) for each shot series received with severe effects and partial paralysis.


May 2nd, 2011
1:00 pm

The real issue is the large number of guns in homes around the country. The founding fathers clearly meant guns to by used for military purposes only. Does anyone actually think the founding fathers would approve of all the young savages who go on killing sprees in America every year? Guns in America should only be in the hands of the Police and Military. Unfortunately, the NRA has an iron grip on Congress thanks to the huge amounts of bribe money they funnel to them for election and re-election purposes. Money talks and innocent people die.


May 2nd, 2011
1:05 pm

I completely disagree with you Mr. Barr.

Keep the NRA and the 2nd amendment glorifiers out of my kids’ pediatrician’s office!


May 2nd, 2011
1:49 pm

Wait a minute…Barr, you need to come on here and set things straight. People on here actually think it’s the government that’s requiring doctors to ask this question.

It’s not the government. It’s the AAP, which is a private, non-profit organization, which is “encouraging” the practice.

In THIS case, the government is being petitioned to step in and ban the practice. That’s bigger government.

As for the question itself…you answer how you see fit – yes, no, none of your business.

Why do people think that doctors have authority over them? You CAN refuse to answer. Perhaps a particular doctor has a policy to refuse service to patients who won’t answer. But it’s a private practice. You can find another one.

Again, the government is not requiring doctors ask the question. Let’s be clear.

Don't Tread

May 2nd, 2011
2:06 pm

This is just another angle used to attack private firearms ownership. The lefties can’t get it done legally (legislatively), so then they resort to nuisance lawsuits, executive orders, news spin, secret (and open) registration lists, and stuff like this.

A disarmed populace is much easier for government to subjugate. The Nazis and Communists figured this out some time ago.


May 2nd, 2011
2:07 pm


Not true at all. The “Founding Fathers” knew all too well, having recently completed their own armed insurrection, that the single best way to prevent a government from oppressing the people is for the people to be armed and ready to fight back.
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
—Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).


May 2nd, 2011
2:08 pm


[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.
—Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.


May 2nd, 2011
2:10 pm


The Virginia ratifying convention met from June 2 through June 26, 1788. Edmund Pendleton, opponent of a bill of rights, weakly argued that abuse of power could be remedied by recalling the delegated powers in a convention. Patrick Henry shot back that the power to resist oppression rests upon the right to possess arms:

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.

Henry sneered,

O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone…Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation…inflicted by those who had no power at all?

More quotes from the Virginia convention:

[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor…
—George Mason

Zacharia Johnson argued that the new Constitution could never result in religious persecution or other oppression because:

[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.

The Virginia delegation’s recommended bill of rights included the following:

That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.


May 2nd, 2011
2:11 pm

During our last visit our pediatrician, while going over various questions about our childs health, simply made the statesment ” If you have firearms in your house make sure you keep them out of your childs reach.” It’s what doctors are supposed to do…ask questions and inform their patients.


May 2nd, 2011
2:12 pm

iRun has it right in 1:49 post.

The answer is not more government.

Henry Grady

May 2nd, 2011
2:20 pm


Let me know why that means the government should pass a law regulating what a physician should ask a patient about preventing injuries to a child.

This is the issue with certain ‘gun’ advocates…they lose their common sense. Guns are dangerous for children. 70 children a year die in accidental shootings. This is an absolutely appropriate question for a doctor to ask and to provide advice upon.

But, because the word gun is involved, idiots like Bob Barr are going to make it a political issue. Bobby is a hypocrite. Keep your big government regulations out of my doctors office.


May 2nd, 2011
2:31 pm

Henry @2:20

I think I was agreeing with your statements, as you and iRun said pretty much the same thing.

That is, doctors should feel free to ask the question. People should feel free to not answer it. Government is not necessary here to protect anyone from asking or answering.

On the other hand, your reference to 70 children dying each year makes me believe you are anti-gun. As others have pointed out here, pools kill 10x more children. How about “Does Mommy ever drive you in the car anywhere?” For children between the ages of 2 and 14, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death, and some 2000 die and 250,000 are injured every year.

“More children under four die of accidental poisonings at home than are accidentally killed with guns at home.” National Safety Council

Not that guns in the home are totally harmless, but why go after a minor contributor and simply ignore all the more dangerous things unless that’s part of some other agenda?

Henry Grady

May 2nd, 2011
3:30 pm

I’m not anti-gun at all. I might even own a gun. I’m just pro-facts and common sense.

#1-Bobby Barr specifically includes pools as something physicians shouldn’t be asking about. I’m not an idiot like Bobby. I believe Dr’s should be free to ask about pools and to inform/advise parents on pool safety…just like I believe they should be free to ask about guns.

Bobby Barr seems to think both subjects are irrelevant, which is contrary to this little thing called ‘reality’.

#2- Accidental deaths are the #1 killer of children (ages 1-14) in the US.

#3- I would assume that rather than asking if Mommy ever drives you anywhere in the car, most doctors ask if you have a car seat installed. In fact, they don’t let you take your child home from the hospital without one. So your snarky ‘hypothetical’ is pretty poignant in that doctors and health care providers constantly advise parents on the pro’s of using child seats and we even have ‘laws’ that fine parents for not doing so. Were you trying to help or hurt your argument by bringing up motor vehicle accidents? Oh…and have you ever had a doctor not give you information on child proofing poisons? Ever not hear advice about having smoke detectors in your house? Seriously…’simply ignoring’ the more dangerous things is a statement not based in reality. There is a whole cottage industry on the ‘more dangerous things.’

#4-Again, facts…I love them. The CDC publishes causes of death and corresponding numbers. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf (Page 35)

Ages 1-14 (because kids under 1 really aren’t relevant to the ‘guns’ discussion, right?)

Motor Vehicle accident deaths- 1,836
Non-”transport” accident deaths- 1,827


In 2007, Accident Gun Discharge Deaths were 64.
Smoke Fire and Flames-412

Now…you tell me which one of these should be off limits for doctors to advise their patients on. I say none…they all account for 3% or more of accidental deaths of children (non-transport) each year and doctors should be able to advise parents about the dangers of their gun safe just like they should be able to about the dangers of their pool or their household cleaners.

However, Bobby wants to politicize it and make one of those subjects off limits. I say he’s an idiot and a hypocrite and that he and the lobbyists that pushed this bill should stay the hell out of my doctors office.


May 2nd, 2011
4:09 pm

mpercy, Don’t Tread

So you think an armed American populance could stand up to tanks, artillery and attack helicopters and A-10’s. You two are real poster children for the typical simple Republican voters.


May 2nd, 2011
4:12 pm

I don’t think any of them should be off limits. Nor do I think only one should be focused on exclusively. A doctor advising about all these risks is doing a good job. A doctor who only asks about guns and ignores other dangers in the home has an agenda that has little to do with medicine.

But I especially don’t think we need additional laws dictating what doctors should or should not be asking their patients. And Bob is wrong to support such a law.

Sharon Miller

May 2nd, 2011
4:19 pm

My Granddaughters DR told my Daughter if I had to bring her back find another DR this woman was asking about seat belts fire alarms she had a list of non essential questions. I didn’t invite her to my house so in Georgia they do refuse to see kids whose parents don’t answer. for adults they just mark refused.


May 2nd, 2011
4:32 pm

carlosgvv @4:09 pm

Way to change the subject.

You made the claim earlier that “The founding fathers clearly meant guns to by used for military purposes only.” This is certainly not the case, as demonstrated by the numerous contemporary statements made, only a very a few of which were quoted here.

Tanks and artillery were not part of the discussion until you tried to side-step.

P.S. I am not a Republican.


May 2nd, 2011
4:47 pm

“The founding fathers clearly meant guns to by used for military purposes only.”

HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like someone failed US History.


May 2nd, 2011
4:48 pm

carlosgvv doesn’t realize that the majority of military personnel vote for the GOP.


May 2nd, 2011
4:50 pm

“The real issue is the large number of guns in homes around the country.”

No troglodyte, the real issue is criminals being able to get their hands on guns whenever and wherever they want.


May 2nd, 2011
4:51 pm

“You two are real poster children for the typical simple Republican voters.

You mean people who don’t rely on government, pay taxes, work for a living?


May 2nd, 2011
4:53 pm

“Guns in America should only be in the hands of the Police and Military. ”

Guess you never read the 2nd amendment. Sucks to be you, loser.