The ACP's position is not new, nor is the organization alone in calling for more physicians to talk to their patients about guns, says Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research. The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates talking to patients about gun ownership as part of the general conversation about safety precautions.
"When I studied pediatricians about 25 years ago, even though they recognized guns as a safety hazards for children and teens, they hadn't felt it was their place to bring up the topic," says Webster. "But times have changed, and in pediatrics, asking about guns in the home has become more commonplace. Pediatricians can talk about guns in the context of child development (their impulsiveness, inability to consider long-term consequences) and injury prevention."
As the mother of a seven-year old boy, I'm very familiar with safety questions. In fact, they are old hat now, but I remember that first visit to the pediatrician. Did we always use a car seat? What type of bathtub were we using? How often was he eating?