Speaking Up for Kids
and Gun Safety

Dr. Judy Schaechter, a pediatrician, advocates for protecting children from firearms in homes

Gustavo Freundt/UM Biomedical Communications.

While decrying the proliferation of mass shootings across the country, Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A. ’10, professor and chair of the Miller School’s Department of Pediatrics, also worries about the epidemic of gun violence in homes.

“Studies show it’s much more likely that a gun kept in your home will be used against you or a loved one than an intruder,” she said.

Indeed, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence cites research showing that 89% of accidental shooting deaths among children occur in the home.

In her practice as a pediatrician, Dr. Schaechter feels it is important to have a dialogue with families about firearms, from a public health perspective. “I am about keeping guns away from children and others who shouldn’t be using them,” she said, “because prevention is way better than treatment.”

Dr. Schaechter was a plaintiff in the 2017 federal case that overturned a 2011 Florida law restricting physicians from discussing gun safety with patients.

“Pediatricians have a responsibility to talk about this risk,” she said. “I’m hopeful that we will have a culture change where every gun owner doesn’t just say ‘I’m responsible,’ but actually keeps their guns locked up and away from children.”

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI MEDICINE
FALL 2019