I was planning to spend the blog this morning discussing a May 2, 2015 editorial by Ned Barnett in the News & Observer which was entitled A bad aim in the print edition. It was all about his disdain for H562 and Representative Jacqueline Schaffer who sponsored the bill. It really started as a great bill, but has been watered down in subsequent versions and while it still has teeth, it doesn’t have the pizzazz of the initial filing. Ned spends his time in print pandering to his gun control advocate readership and I had planned to pan his words this morning and pick apart his fear mongering tactics.

Alas that was not meant to be. As I opened the paper this morning I came across a letter to the editor entitled Guns, kids and HB562 by Dr. Dave Tayloe Jr. of Goldsboro. Dave graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and founded Goldsboro Pediatrics in 1978. Here is what he wrote, of course I added the emphasis:

Regarding the April 29 news article “Schaffer’s bill would ease gun rules”: As a pediatrician who has worked to pass child safety legislation in our state over the last three decades, I am distressed to see that House Bill 562 would strip me of my First Amendment rights to ask my patients and their families about access to guns in their homes.

Guns are the second-leading cause of death in children over the age of 1 year, second only to motor vehicle injuries. Loaded guns in the home are a major risk factor for suicide and homicide involving children and adolescents.

In our practice, we use a confidential questionnaire to allow adolescents to give us information about a variety of adolescent health issues, among them gun availability. Just as we ask about seat belt and car seat use, smoke alarms in homes and the use of life jackets for children when they are near water, we must ask about the availability of guns in the environments of children and adolescents.

This bill goes way too far in the wrong direction. Legislators must stand up and resist the urge to take health providers out of the equation when it comes to the prevention of tragic injury to children and adolescents.

Dave Tayloe Jr.

It appears despite earning a Doctor of Medicine degree from UNC Dave just doesn’t understand the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. He isn’t alone, most people don’t get it, but I would hope before you send a letter to the editor describing how your rights are being stripped you would first strive to understand those rights. Maybe Dave took those courses at UNC which didn’t require him to go to class? Let’s explore the First Amendment for a few minutes.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Maybe Dr. Dave can explain how exactly a statute addition which protects patient privacy affects his First Amendment rights? Is his religion affected? No, he can choose to worship as he pleases. Is his free speech affected? No, he can speak out all he desires about firearm, he just cannot ask his patients about them. Is the press restricted? No, Ned can write whatever he desires. Is his right to peaceably assembled restricted? No, he can still assemble where he wants. What Dave could not grasp prior to penning his letter to the editor is his First Amendment rights will not effected when the statute is added and he can no longer ask his patients about firearm ownership. Perhaps he is an outstanding pediatrician, but he should refrain from making statements regarding the US Constitution without first understanding the words on the parchment. Maybe Dave skipped class that day.