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.

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