Florida court allows ban on doctors a...

Florida court allows ban on doctors asking patients about gun ownership

Posted in the Chicago Forum

appeals court

Dallas, TX

#1 Jul 26, 2014
Florida court allows ban on doctors asking patients about gun ownership

An appeals court rules in favor of Florida law banning doctors from asking patients about guns in health screenings

July 25, 2014 8:47PM ET

A U.S. appeals court ruled Friday in favor of a Florida law that bars doctors from asking patients about gun ownership. The move overturns a lower courtís decision in the so-called "Docs vs. Glocks" case.

Florida's Republican-led legislature passed the law after a north Florida couple complained that a doctor asked them if they had guns, and refused to see them after they declined to answer. A federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional in 2012, and the state swiftly appealed.

A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 vote, vacated the federal judge's ruling and described the law as a "legitimate regulation" of professional conduct that simply codifies good medical care.

Any restrictions it places on physicians' speech was entirely incidental, the appeals court said, since it "was intended to protect patient privacy and curtail abuses of the physician-patient relationship."

Lawyers representing doctors and others had argued that the law violated healthcare providers' First Amendment rights by threatening them with heavy fines and the possibility of losing their licenses if they broach the subject.

Many doctors said they ask about gun ownership as a normal part of screening new patients, including it on a long list of health questions about drug and alcohol use, smoking, exercise and eating habits.

Critics of the law said the appeal was driven by the National Rifle Association and the gun industry to prevent regulations.

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, was surprised at Friday's ruling. Simon's organization had filed legal briefs in support of the challenge to the law.

"We are astounded that a court would allow the legislature to override the free speech rights of doctors and medical personnel," Simon said in a statement. "It's a sad day when judges tell doctors what is in the best interest of their patients."

One who knows

Arlington Heights, IL

#3 Jul 30, 2014
I go to the doc when I'm not feeling well.

If I need information or advice on my gun cabinet, I will seek advice from my gunsmith. I don't go to my gunsmith when I have a roid flareup after an Obama speech, so, I don't go to my MD when my I need help adjusting the scope on my 30.06.
Exactly right

Dallas, TX

#4 Jul 31, 2014
Other wise my doctor might get an enema with the muzzle of my 44 mag.
NosyDocsNeedAzzC heckM16

Oak Lawn, IL

#5 Jul 31, 2014
YES, when did the docs get the right to refuse fu cking service if questions were not answered. Maybe people should say they own over
1000 guns and 1,000,000 rounds of ammo. "Now, take care of me Doc..
..........OR ELSE!"
hands on AR

Waukegan, IL

#6 Jul 31, 2014
Hmm they put an advertisement over my last post?

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