Pediatricians back away from FMA-NRA compromise over guns

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Pediatricians distanced themselves Tuesday from a deal struck between gun-rights advocates and the Florida Medical Association, re-energizing a debate about when physicians should ask patients about gun ownership, reports the News Service of Florida. The debate revolves around a pair of bills (HB 155, SB 432) that would limit when a doctor can ask patients whether they have a gun at home. The Florida Medical Association at first balked at a stronger version of the Senate bill, which was eventually watered down to allow physicians to ask about guns when they think the question is relevant to a patient? health care. That essentially ended the association? opposition to the bill, allowing it to move. But pediatricians appeared before the House and Senate Judiciary committees – which both approved their respective versions of the measure Tuesday – to say they were not part of the agreement. They said it was still important for doctors to have the ability to ask about guns in the home, without potential second-guessing about whether the question was relevant. ?his bill will still have a chilling effect and will prevent pediatricians from asking questions about firearms,?said Louis St. Petery of the Florida Pediatric Society. But gun-rights advocates, who have pushed the bill as one of their top priorities this session, said the measure was an attempt to counter the ?rowing anti-gun political agenda being carried out in examination rooms,?in the words of Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. ?e take our children to pediatricians for medical care, not moral judgment or privacy invasion,?Hammer said. The House bill was approved on a 15-3 vote; the Senate margin was 5-2.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.