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Entries in Guns (6)

Tuesday
Dec182012

Trauma Surgeons Call for 'War on Ammunition'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Skyla Davis was shot before she was even born.

Her mother, Tiffany Davis, 27 and eight months pregnant, was leaving a convenience store Dec. 9 in Miami when gang members started shooting in her neighborhood.

One bullet struck her in the brain; another hit her in the abdomen, piercing her womb and shattering her 4-pound baby girl's arm and elbow.

Skyla was delivered by emergency Caesarean section. Her arm is now swaddled in a makeshift sling.

Her mother, unable to speak, was told by doctors about the shooting Monday. Because the bullet shattered in her frontal lobe, which controls much of a person's cognitive function, doctors doubt she'll fully recover.

The bullets were from a Glock 10, the same kind of handgun carried by Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who fatally shot his mother and then 26 children and staff members at a Newtown, Conn., school Friday before killing himself.

"This epidemic of gun violence is affecting unborn children," said Dr. Tanya Zakrison, who treated Skyla. Zakrison attended an impromptu town hall meeting of trauma surgeons at Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Her hospital, where trauma surgeons bound for Iraq and Afghanistan are trained, is a kind of ground zero in a national crisis.

Last year, 600 gunshot victims -- more than in all of England in a 10-year period -- were treated at Ryder. But Ryder's emergency room is just one piece of a nationwide puzzle.

In 2010, 31,000 Americans were killed by guns -- 60 times more than the number of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same year.

About a dozen surgeons who spoke to ABC News -- some of whom said they owned guns themselves for protection -- agreed that they'd like to see guns taken off the streets across the United States, but conceded that it was an impossibility.

"Have all the guns you want," said Dr. Nicholas Namias, medical director of Ryder Trauma Center. "We need a war on ammunition."

Zakrison said she could tell immediately when a victim entered the emergency room whether they'd been hit by an assault weapon or a handgun.

"Absolutely," she said. "[It] looks like a bomb has gone off on the inside."

She said she wants the bullets used today in many semiautomatic weapons to be banned.

Not only do assault rifle bullets travel about three times as fast through the rifle's longer barrel, but they are designed not just to strike but to explode or fragment, causing extensive damage.

Zakrison also said that victims of gun violence needed to be counseled. She said that when drunken drivers caused accidents, they were given counseling with the hope that they don't endanger people again.

She said that patients she saw who'd been wounded by gunfire were often caught in a cycle of violence and were not given that same help.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan172012

Florida Hospitals Push for Gun Ban

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(HOLLYWOOD, Fla.) -- A South Florida group wants to ban guns from hospitals and nursing homes in the state by extending a list of weapon-free safety zones that already includes schools, government buildings, and athletic events.

"We just think it's a no-brainer," said Linda Quick, president of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, which is championing the ban. "It's an emotionally charged environment. I just think if you have places where guns are not allowed, hospitals ought to be one of them."

Concealed weapons are also prohibited in bars and other businesses licensed to sell alcohol under Florida law.

The SFHHA has been pushing for the ban since 2000. But the National Rifle Association said it would continue to oppose any such legislation.

"Very simply, people should not be denied the right to defend themselves just based on their choice of profession," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told ABC News. "Just because someone's a doctor or a nurse, that doesn't mean they're less immune to crime."

As for patients, families and other visitors to medical facilities, Arulanandam said they should not lose their rights, "just because they cross an arbitrary boundary or line.

"Crime can and does happen anywhere," he said. "But we trust good people to do good things regardless of where they are. That's why we've fought for self-defense laws. We think it's reasonable for law-abiding people to have a means of protecting themselves outside their homes."

But when emotions run high, guns can put the safety of others at risk, Quick said.

"For the same reason sports events and bars are on the safety list: Emergency rooms in hospitals can get pretty testy," she said. "It's not that we object to people having the right to carry a gun. We just want hospitals to be among the places they're not welcome."

"We've heard these same tired arguments for over two decades," Arulanandam responded. "These are the same tired arguments used when the right-to-carry movement began."

This is not the first time Florida gun laws have entered the health care realm. In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that barred doctors from asking patients or their families about guns at home. A federal judge is still deciding whether the law violates doctors' free speech rights.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct172011

Study: More Kids Suffer Firearm Injuries than Previously Believed

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Each year, more than 20,000 children go to U.S. emergency rooms with gun injuries, a new study estimates. That number is 30 percent higher than what researchers had previously found.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston analyzed reports from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of U.S. emergency department visits from 1999 to 2007. In those eight years, they counted nearly 186,000 children, from newborns to 19-year-olds, who had been treated for firearm injuries. About 8,300 of those injuries proved fatal.

The study found that non-Caucasian boys age 12 and older were most likely to be injured by a gun. Forty-seven percent of the injuries they counted were in the South, but the Midwestern states had the highest proportion of firearm injuries relative to the population size.

Dr. Saranya Srinivasan, one of the study's authors, said the pediatric emergency physicians have kept track of the numbers of children injured by guns for many years, but the higher numbers her study found were surprising.

"Perhaps the scope of this problem is much larger than what we had originally thought," she said.

The study, which Srinivasan and her colleagues were to present Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics' annual conference, found that 63 percent of the firearm injuries were intentional -- from homicides, suicide attempts, or encounters with law enforcement. The remaining 37 percent were unintentional injuries that could have resulted from accidents in homes or on hunting trips.

"If one-third of these injuries are unintentional, that means they're possibly preventable through things like more careful firearm storage and better education about gun safety," said Dr. Lois Lee, one of the study's authors.

The study indicated that more children have been injured not just from gun accidents but also from violence involving firearms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the best way for parents to keep their children from being injured by guns is to keep them out of homes. But for parents who do have guns in the house, the AAP says they should be kept unloaded and locked away, bullets should be locked and stored separately from the guns, and the keys to gun lock boxes should be hidden from children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Alabama Company Turns Deceased Loved Ones into Ammo

Hemera/Thinkstock(STOCKTON, Ala.) -- Gun enthusiasts who have fired their last round on Earth are now being given one last shot.

Two former Alabama law enforcement officers have started a company called Holy Smoke.  For a fee starting at $850, the company will load the cremated ashes of loved ones into shotgun and rifle shells, where they can be fired at will by family members.

The company's website states, "We offer a way to honor your deceased loved one by giving or sharing with him or her one more round of clay targets, one last bird hunt, or one last stalk hunt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

Florida Law Bans Doctors from Asking about Guns

Comstock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Doctors and gun control groups say they will challenge a Florida law, signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott, that bans physicians from asking patients about gun ownership.

"Gov. Rick Scott should realize the risks to public health and safety that he would be sanctioning by giving into the gun lobby's agenda," the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said in a joint statement with the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians.

When it was first proposed in January, the gun gag bill sparked outrage among pediatricians, who said asking parents about guns in the home was not only their right but their responsibility.

"Including a discussion about gun safety during checkups at a pediatrician's office is no different than encouraging parents to use car seats or keep poisons locked up," said Dr. John Moses, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University. "The issue here is not the right of gun ownership, but simply child safety and the prevention of tragic injuries that can be avoided by proper gun storage."

But supporters of the bill, proposed by State Rep. Jason Brodeur and nicknamed "Docs and Glocks," said it protects patients' privacy as well as their right to bear arms.

"Parents don't know what to believe and don't know why their state wants to know if they lawfully own firearms," Brodeur said in a January statement, adding that the purpose of the bill is to protect families from being denied treatment for refusing to answer questions about guns in their home.

Gunshot wounds account for one in 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Parents are often not aware that unsafe storage of guns has caused many child injuries and deaths," said Dr. Neal Kaufman, professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of California, Los Angeles Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Pediatricians have a responsibility to identify possible threats to a child's safety and highlight ways parents can lessen those risks, Kaufman said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a gun in the home is 43 times more likely to be used to kill a friend or family member than a burglar or other criminal. The best way to avoid firearm injuries and deaths is not to own a gun. Parents who do own firearms should keep them well out of children's reach with trigger locks activated and the ammunition stored separately.

"We are not trying to get rid of guns, or to report on them," said Dr. Mark Groshek, a pediatrician and physician chief of clinical strategic support at KP Colorado HealthConnections. "We want to be sure parents know how to keep guns at home in a way that protects their kids."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan272011

Should Doctors Talk to Parents About Guns?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- In Florida, where a five-year-old has just been suspended after bringing a loaded .22-caliber pistol to preschool, a local politician has proposed a bill that would ban doctors from asking parents about guns at home.

"The intention of the bill is to prevent the violation of an individual's right to privacy," State Rep. Jason Brodeur said in a statement to ABC News.  "The bill addresses a violation of privacy rights concerning firearms and seeks to prevent future occurrences of such violations."

Under the proposed legislation -- currently under review by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives -- a doctor could face a hefty fine or even jail time for asking a patient or a patient's family about guns in their home.

"Parents don't know what to believe and don't know why their state wants to know if they lawfully own firearms," Brodeur said.  He said the purpose of the bill is to protect families from being denied treatment for refusing to answer questions about guns in their home.

But the proposal has sparked outrage among pediatricians, many of whom say asking parents about guns in the home is not just their right, but their responsibility.

"Including a discussion about gun safety during checkups at a pediatrician's office is no different than encouraging parents to use car seats or keep poisons locked up," said Dr. John Moses, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University.  "The issue here is not the right of gun ownership, but simply child safety and the prevention of tragic injuries that can be avoided by proper gun storage."

Gunshot wounds account for one in 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio