In Florida it is against the law for a Pediatrician to ask a patient about guns in the house.

In 2010 almost 20,000 children were killed or wounded by firearms in America (A child is killed or wounded every thirty minutes) (Slate article Feb 1)

Simply explaining public health issues to parents seems like a natural function of the medical profession.

At Children’s Health of Ocala, Florida, Pediatrician, Dr. Okonkwo was asking routine public safety questions about child safety, bike helmets & loaded guns in the home of one of his patients.

Dr Okonkwo was right about locking ammunition and guns separately as a public health issue for children.

For this he could be accused of “unnecessarily harassing” the mother of his patient (the child).

Turns out, it is against Florida law to ask questions about gun ownership or ammunition in the entire state of Florida.  The initial bill called for a five million dollar fine & five years in prison (for asking a Floridian if there was a gun in the home).

A recent  Institutes of Medicine & National Research Council 378 page study demonstrates  that our nation is at the bottom of almost every health indicator, early death,  the world’s leader in gun death, and U.S. women are now second to last in life expectancy.

America has 20 times more gun homicides than the rest of the developed world.


This kind of anti child public policy making will be viewed as selfish, backwards, and dangerous by future generations.

Florida, you should be ashamed of yourself for putting  your youngest citizens at risk.

Watch this 3 minute video to get a clear perspective of the issues facing our community’s  at risk children and what must happen to graduate more students, bring effectiveness back to our justice and health systems, and make our streets safe and happy again.

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At Least 4 People Were Accidentally Shot By Toddlers Since Last Weekend

By Andrea Peterson on Apr 10, 2013 at 10:45 am


Josephine Fanning, who was fatally shot after a toddler obtained her husband’s firearm

All week, official Washington is fixated on the question of whether the 14 senators who’ve promised to filibuster any gun safety legislation will succeed in their efforts to maintain the status quo. Meanwhile, gun violence continues unabated in the rest of the nation. In a particularly tragic chapter in our nation’s struggle with such violence, at least four people — including two children — were seriously injured or killed since last weekend in accidental shootings where toddlers obtained loaded weapons: 

  • A Tennessee woman was shot in the stomach by her2-year-old child on Sunday. Rekia Kid was sleeping with the toddler and her three-week-old baby when the toddler discovered a Glock 9 mm stored underneath her pillow and discharged the weapon. Kid managed to get out of the house and crawl to a neighbor’s porch where she was found by the neighbor, who told local news “[s]he just kept screaming that she didn’t think she was going to make it, she didn’t think she was going to make it and to please please take care of my children.”
  • Josephine G. Fanning was shot and killed Saturday at a Tennessee barbecue when a 4-year-old boy discharged a handgun owned by Fanning’s husband, Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Fanning. Fanning had left the loaded gun “for just a moment” on the bed while he went to retrieve another weapon from a locked gun cabinet.
  • A 6-year-old boy was accidentally shot by his 4-year-old playmate in a quiet residential New Jersey area yesterday. The victim later died of his wounds, with the victim’s uncle telling reporters covering the story “This never should have happened. It’s horrible.”
  • 3-year-old died of an accidental self-inflicted gun wound in South Carolina on Tuesday according after finding a gun in an apartment and discharging the weapon. No further details have been released at this time.



The Pediatricians vs. the NRA

How the gun lobby is trying to gag doctors from talking about kids and guns.

By |Posted Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at 2:53 PM ET

Parents of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre victims at a press conference

Parents of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre victims hold hands during a press conference on the one-month anniversary of the elementary school massacre.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

What does the body of a 6-year-old girl look like after a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle’s high-velocity bullets rip through her? The average 6-year-old girl weighs about 44 pounds and stands around 3 feet 9 inches tall. The size of her organs and the diameters of her arteries and veins, bowel, and bones are much smaller than an adult’s. But a 6-year-old girl is not a miniature adult; her organs are more vulnerable and less protected by bones. So when a high-velocity projectile like a .223-caliber bullet, traveling at approximately 2,000 miles per hour, from an assault weapon like a Bushmaster AR-15, enters her body, all hell breaks loose. If that bullet pierces her chest wall into her heart, it will cause her heart to explode, and if it passes within 3 inches of her aorta, the shockwaves will tear it open. If it slices into her arm, it will shatter her humerus into so many fragments that it will no longer be recognizable as a bone. If it spirals into her brain, the cavity and damage the bullet causes will be so extensive that her head will break apart.

Guns kill kids. In 2010, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,694 children and teens in the United States died because of a firearm. Another 15,578 children and teens were injured. Every 30 minutes, a child is killed or injured by a gun. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the largest organization of pediatricians, recommends that conversations about guns and gun safety start during a prenatal visit and be repeated every year as part of anticipatory guidance. Those conversations start with a question: “Do you own a gun?”


One Tuesday in the summer of 2010, at Children’s Health of Ocala, Fla., a pediatrician named Chris Okonkwo asked the mother of a 7-year-old patient, “Do you have guns in the home?”

Her response was unexpected: “None of your business!”

Okonkwo tried to explain why he was asking the question. He told the mother he routinely asked questions about safety regarding firearms, swimming pools, and bike helmets, to name just a few. He told her that if there was a gun in her home, it should be locked and any ammunition also locked and kept separately.

Instead she continued to yell at him, “Didn’t you hear what I said? None of your damn business!”

Okonkwo finished the rest of the physical exam, administered immunizations, and then informed the mother she had 30 days to find another doctor. He felt they were unable to establish a “relationship of trust,” given her refusal to answer questions about basic safety.

What happened in that pediatric office led an NRA lobbyist to sponsor legislation in the Florida State House. “Privacy of Firearm Owners” was signed by Gov. Rick Scott andpassed into law on June 2, 2011. This law prohibits doctors from “making written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the patient or by a family member of the patient.” It also prohibits doctors from “unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership during an examination.” But this law does not define what “unnecessarily harassing” means. The question Okonkwo asked could be construed as “unnecessarily harassing” if that mother filed a complaint with the Florida Board of Medicine. And Okonkwo could be censured and his license to practice medicine revoked, as well as fined up to $10,000. But this was a watered-down version of the law. The original bill called for more Draconian measures: a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $5 million and a maximum of five years in prison. All for simply asking the question, “Do you have guns in the home?”

Days after the law passed, three physicians, Bernd Wollschlaeger, Judy Schaechter, and Tommy Schechtman, along with the Florida chapter of the AAP and other medical societies, filed a suit to block enforcement of the law. They sued Rick Scott, in his official capacity as governor of Florida, on grounds that the law violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech for physicians and also violated the First Amendment right of patients to hear that speech.

Wollschlaeger is a family practitioner who makes house calls. Before he became a naturalized citizen of the United States, he served in the Israeli army and is intimately familiar with firearms. He owns guns and is a concealed-weapons permit holder. He used his personal knowledge of guns to relate to his patients who are gun owners to counsel them on gun safety. But the Florida Physician Gag Law, as the plaintiffs refer to it in their suit, changed his practice. He stopped talking about guns. Wollschlaeger used to be a member of the NRA. Now he feels the NRA has “metastasized into a lobby for the gun industry.” And the law, which was “all NRA proposed, all NRA sponsored, all NRA supported,” was a form of intimidation. Wollschlaeger doesn’t like to be intimidated. He volunteered to be a named plaintiff in the suit because “our voices and our words matter. We have to stand up for what is right.”



  1. Dr. Chris Okonkwo asked Amber Ullman if she had a gun in her

    Jul 24, 2010 – The question about the gun was one in a series of questions that Dr. Chris Okonkwo asked during an examination of Ullman’s 4-month-old 

  2. – FL Family DrOkonkwo Refuses to Treat Gun

    Jul 28, 2010 – FL Family DrOkonkwo Refuses to Treat Gun Owner’s Baby / OK Only in this case Dr. Chris Okonkwo told new mother Amber Ullman to piss 

  3. Routine Gun Inquiry Is Off Limits for Doctors in Florida –

    Aug 8, 2011 – The doctor, Chris Okonkwo, said at the time that he asked so he could a duty to ask about ownership because firearm injuries affect a large 


    18 hours ago – Dr Okonkwo was right about locking ammunition and guns  Turns out, it is against Florida law to ask questions about gun ownership or 

  5. Guns and Children In Florida (it’s not guns that kill people) It’s Bad…/guns-and-children-in-florida-its-…

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  6. Florida Family Doctor Refuses to Treat Gun Owner’s Baby | The…/family-doctor-refuses-to-see-g

    Jul 24, 2010 – Florida Family Doctor Refuses to Treat Gun Owner’s Baby  Only in this case Dr. Chris Okonkwo told new mother Amber Ullman to piss off, 

  7. Physicians, gun owners tangle over Florida ‘don’t ask’ gun bill

    Jan 31, 2011 – Physicians and Florida gun ownership advocates are battling over a DrOkonkwo asked the mother if she owned a gun, but she refused to 

  8. Dr. Chris Okonkwo – OCALA, FL Pediatrician – 11 doctor reviews…/Dr-Chris-Okonkwo-OCALA-FL.h…
     Rating: 1.7 – 11 reviews

    11 free doctor reviews and ratings for Pediatrician Dr. Chris Okonkwo  BrowseFlorida Doctors  Ask personal questions related to firearms ownership.

  9. Health Care Organizational Ethics: Florida Gun Folly…/floridagun-fol…

    Aug 9, 2011 – Privacy of Firearm Owners: Provides that licensed practitioner or  Dr.Okonkwo is 100% correct that asking about guns in the home is an 

  10. 2012 Muzzles – Thomas Jefferson Center

    In July of 2010, Chris Okonkwo, a pediatrician in Ocala, Florida asked the mother between himself and his patient’s mother, Okonkwo asked her to find a new doctorThe issue here is not gun ownership but speech about the use of guns.


    Gun Stats;

    * Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds of were killed by an intimate partner.

    * Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times, compared to
    instances where there are no weapons, according to a recent study. In addition, abusers who possess
    guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.

    * In 2010, 52 percent of female homicide victims were shot and killed with a gun.

    * Handguns are more likely than rifles or shotguns to be used in homicides in which men kill women. In
    2010, handguns were used in 70 percent of cases where men used firearms to kill women.

    * In 1998, for every one woman who used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in self-defense, 83
    women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance using a handgun.

    * Domestic violence misdemeanor convictions and restraining orders were the second most common
    reason for denials of handgun purchase applications between 1994 and 1998.

    * From 1998 to 2001, more than 2,800 people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions were
    able to purchase guns without being identified by the National Instant Criminal Background Check


    City by City;

    Inside Story Americas

    Gangs and guns in America’s inner cities

    We travel to Baltimore to meet those trying to stop gun crime and others who say owning a gun is a matter of survival.
     Last Modified: 02 Feb 2013 09:35
    Guns, Culture and Crime in the US – in a special three-part series, Inside Story Americas takes the debate on gun control to the American people. Are they as divided as their politicians?

    The Newtown shooting in December, which left 20 school children and six teachers dead, has dragged the issue of gun control back into the national agenda.

    If you had to break it down [why inner cities youths get guns], a quarter of it is for drugs, a quarter for gangs … fifty percent in general would be for survival, because you know there are a lot of wolves in your city and you refuse to be that one sheep that just gets taken for everything. So, you know in your heart you’re a good guy, and you don’t intend on hurting anybody, but the next man may hurt you – you’re gonna get a gun. – Sean Hawkins, a former Baltimore gang member

    For the first time in years, US politicians are discussing serious gun control measures.

    But millions of people in the country’s inner cities live with the threat of gun violence on a daily basis.

    In Baltimore, one of the most dangerous cities in the US, the police have reframed their ‘war on drugs’ as a ‘war on guns’.

    Maryland has some of the toughest gun laws in the US, and Baltimore’s are even stricter, but the city continues to struggle with rampant gun violence as thousands of people gain access to firearms.

    The city had 217 murders in 2012, with 181 involving handguns. It also has the third highest gun homicide rate in the US at 29.7 gun murders per 100,000 people.

    In the third episode of our special series on guns in the US, Inside Story Americas travels to Baltimore to meet those trying to stop gun crime and others who say owning a gun is sometimes a matter of survival.

    “The problem is right now the people who have guns in the inner city, in Baltimore, are most often drug dealers or gang members and the gun is the tool of their trade. And that is why we have almost 300 murders a year in Baltimore. If you took guns out of those people’s hands, the murder rate would go down substantially and the gun violence would be reduced to almost nothing.”Doug Gansler, Maryland Attorney General

    1. News for gun violence

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      Gun violence defined literally means the use of a firearm to threaten or inflict violence or harm. Gun violence may be broadly defined as a category of violence 

    3. Gun violence in the United States – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Gun violence is a regularly debated political issue in the United States. Gun-related violence is most common in poor urban areas and frequently associated with 

    4. Following the Firearms: Gun Violence in Minneapolis | Minnesota

      Minnesota Public Radio News looks at gun crimes and violence in Minneapolis. Reporter Brandt Williams traces a gun linked to violence back to its source.

    5. Gun Violence

      Whether we look at the shooting sprees of young white men, or the epidemic of gun violence in communities of color, violence is part of the fabric of America.

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      3 days ago – WASHINGTON — President Obama’s Monday visit to Minneapolis will be to “discuss with local leaders and law enforcement officials his 
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      18 hours ago – But in the 1990s, Congress cut off money to research the scope of gun violence, leaving important questions unanswered.
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      3 days ago – As Giffords urges Congress to “be bold, be courageous,” NRA says “gunowners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged 


  1. I believe that this is one of the areas where the paranoid believe that this would be one more way that the government could have a master list of gun owners so that the ATF can collect each weapon. If nothing else, the NRA has mastered the use of fear tactics to control the gullible.

  2. It is absolutely appropriate for a health professional to ask that question given the statistical information that indicates an increased likelihood of injury or fatality to a child or youth by a firearm. This is no different from the risks to the child posed by household poisons, unsupervised swimming pools and riding bikes without safety helmets. Physicians are in a good position to be able to advise parents of the dangers and suggest steps that can be taken to minimize those dangers. Doctors are not the enemy, they should be considered part of the team that helps a family stay healthy, manage heath care and nutritional needs and avoid undue risks whether those risks come from guns, prescription medications, or lack of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

  3. This debate couldn’t happen in the UK. That is, we do not have folk justifying ownership of guns for all manner of reason and hiding behind an antique constitutional law. Result, we do not need such a debate. When a nutter killed kids in a school here, the law on gun ownership and licencing CHANGED – due deliberation, legislative process etc etc. No one argued they needed guns in case they might have to repel their government – we use the ballot box, period. We cut off a king’s head over 100 years before the Declaration of Independence, we dethroned one of his sons who hadn’t quite got the idea. And surely the idea is that the President should be able to call upon a militia should e.g. a foreign power or a tyrannous plot attempt to take power not the thinly-veiled suggestion that it’s ok to topple Obama by force because (let me see) he’s …. not an American citizen, he’s a Moslem, and etc etc etc. Disarm, for God’s sake, and certainly for the kids who otherwise will be lost in the future. Let your police do the job, disarm the criminals too.

  4. I have to wonder: “Would we be able to save more lives and cause less pain and hurt, to families of parents who drop their kids off at school in hopes to see them alive when the get out, if we take a bit more control of how we sell and exchange guns?”

    It is so sad to see or experience the pain and hurt that can be caused by the damage of what happens when guns get in the wrong hands. It is especially sad when it involves kids/teens who are still innocent, no matter what side of the gun they are on.

    We are talking about irreparable damage and pain deeper than most any human can endure, this is why the issue is so important. As a nation/world we need to step up and take responsibility for guns in general.

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