elected state Rep. Jason Brodeur of Seminole County wants to make it a third-degree felony for doctors or nurses to ask about a patient’s firearm ownership. Not only would violators face prison time, they also could face a fine of up to $5 million.

You can read the bill here. The proposed law apparently grew out of an incident last year in which a pediatrician asked a mother whether she had guns in the home. When she refused to answer the doctor told her to find another doctor. Here’s a story about itin the Ocala Star-Banner. It’s worth reading.

This sets us a clash of ideas and priorities. Do Second Amendment rights to keep and bear firearms trump a First Amendment free speech right to ask if someone owns a gun? This reminds me of the fight a few years ago over restrictions on bringing firearms onto workplace property. One side said it was a Second Amendment right; the other said the amendment allows people to possess firearms, not necessarily to take them onto someone else’s private property.

During last year’s interview with the editorial board, Brodeur said he did not believe in any restrictions on gun ownership – zero. That included fully automatic weapons, which have been restricted by federal law since the 1930s. Apparently, he meant it, and then some.

So much for pediatricians trying to educate parents about gun safety at home, which is routinely taught in medical school peds rotations: said he asks such questions of all his patients because if there are guns in a home with children, he advises that parents lock them away so children don't hurt themselves.

“The purpose is to give advice… I don't tell them to get rid of the guns,” he said. “The purpose is to give advice.”

He said that more than half the families he treats have guns.

Okonkwo said that during the summer, he asks parents the same kinds of questions about whether they have pools at their homes and gives advice about keeping them safe so children don't wander in and drown.

He said he does the same with young drivers, and asks whether they use their cell phones when they drive.
The American Association of Pediatrics urges pediatricians to ask questions of parents about gun ownership when they get children's medical histories and to suggest that parents remove guns from the home.