Three states are considering laws that would penalize doctors and other health care providers for asking patients or their parents whether they have a gun at home, reports USA Today. The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun interest groups argue that doctors violate patients’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by inquiring about gun ownership. Doctors say they ask because of safety concerns. Prohibiting them from asking about guns likely violates the First Amendment, at least one constitutional law expert says.
Two weeks ago, Florida legislators became the first to pass such legislation. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign it. A similar law moved out of committee in the Alabama House April 21, while another remains in committee in the North Carolina Senate. The American Academy of Pediatrics says “the absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries” to them. Timothy Wheeler, a retired surgeon in Upland, Ca., founder of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, cites the position statement as proof that pediatricians want to ban firearms.