I recently received a letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics, requesting my participation in one of their surveys about three issues – Suicide Prevention, Maintenance of certification, and the topic I particularly want to discuss—“Firearm Injury Prevention”. The letter and survey were accompanied by a 2-dollar bill as a “token of appreciation”.
I was treating this as just more AAP junk mail, when I perked up at reading the part about firearms. I briefly considered participating in the survey. Maybe they are finally wising up, I thought naively. But my excitement wasshort-lived as I read over the wording of the questions and saw how slanted the survey was from the get-go.
When I was in college, and also in my Master’s program in public health, I distinctly remember being taught that survey creation is a delicate process because of the amount of bias that can be introduced merely by the wording of the questions. Iʼm going to share a sampling of these firearm-related survey questions, and you can decide for yourself if this survey is a biased load of hooey or not (not that Iʼm trying to bias your opinion or anything).
Iʼd include a few photos of the survey questions, but unfortunately I already scribbled smart aleck comments all over most of them in my initial fit of pique.
Hereʼs a sampling [emphases are mine]:
13. When providing health supervision, how frequently do you or your staff: (Always, Sometimes, Never)
___ Identify families who have firearms in the home.
___ Recommend to families who have handguns their removal from the home.
___ Recommend to families who have any firearms their removal from the home.
___ Recommend to families who have firearms the unloading and locking away of guns.
___ Counsel families to inquire about the presence of guns in homes where their children play/spend time.
14. If you do not always identify families who have firearms in the home or counsel them on removal or storage, what are you reasons for not doing so?
___ Parents object to inquiry/counseling on firearms.
___ I am fairly certain no families in my practice have firearms.
___ Firearm injury prevention is not an important issue in my practice.
___ There is not enough time in health supervision visits to address firearm issues
___ It is not the role of a pediatrician to ask/advise families on firearms.
___ Concern that the law does not permit me to inquire/counsel on firearms.
19. Overall, how well prepared do you feel to counsel patients and their families on firearm injury prevention? (Not at all, Somewhat, Moderately, Very Prepared)
20. Overall, how interested are you in receiving additional training on firearm injury prevention? (Not interested, Somewhat interested, Moderately interested, Very Interested)
22. Pediatricians should support community efforts to enact legislation:(Strongly Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Neutral, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Agree)
___ Restricting possession or sale of handguns.
___ Banning the sale and possession of handguns.
___ Banning the sale and possession of assault weapons.
___ Banning the sale and possession of high capacity magazines.
___ Requiring universal background checks.
___ Holding gun owners responsible for child and adolescent use of guns.
___ Requiring safe storage of all guns (ie; trigger locks, storing firearm and ammunition separately, using a gun safe)
___ Requiring firearms be subject to consumer product regulations regarding child access, safety, and design, thereby restricting access to unauthorized users, and facilitating reporting of firearm-related injuries.
Thereʼs more, but you get the idea. This is nothing but a laundry list of their usual party line anti-gun talking points. Iʼm surprised that they even included the option to disagree. And there is one (count ‘em, one) option which allows you to check the idea that none of this is the pediatricianʼs role. Iʼm especially interested in number 20, and who they think is going to provide this “additional training”.
There is no doubt in my mind that the AAP leadership plans to use the results of this slanted survey to claim that the membership supports their anti-Second Amendment agenda. They will continue to do what they are already doing, but now they will claim that they represent their membership in this “mission”.
How about if the AAP bigwigs stick to actual medical issues, like—oh, I dunno—maybe measles outbreaks, and why we have to medicate literally millions of American children just so they can make it through the school day? That ought to keep them busy for the next 20 years or so.
They need to stay in their lane, and leave their nanny-state paws off the Second Amendment.
As for me, Iʼll not be returning the survey, but I will be taking their $2 “token of appreciation” and buying more ammo.
—’Dr. LateBloomer’ is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun. Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites.