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Doctors Sue to Overturn Florida Gun Gag Law

I believe this should be an easy case for our opponents to win, and it was for this reason, plus a general conviction that we have a thing called free speech in this country, that I oppose NRA pushing these bills in state legislatures.

That said, I can see the strategic value in our opponents having to spend money they are short on to fight it. Even though the case should be fairly slam-dunk from their point of view, and for the First Amendment’s sake, I hope it is, it’s still money they won’t be able to spend fighting a case I really do care about.

In addition, it’s a shot across the bow to the medical establishment that they really ought not insert themselves into a contentious social issue that has absolutely nothing to do with the field of medicine. It’s not the AMA, AAP or ACP the press touts as the country’s most powerful lobbying group, and they would do well to remember that.

16 Responses to “Doctors Sue to Overturn Florida Gun Gag Law”

  1. emdfl says:

    I’ve got no prob if a doc wants to talk about death statistics. His desire to do so does become a problem when – in the course of a routine medical examination – said doc starts interrogating a minor (or a major) about firearms in the home.
    I make an exception for my Chiro; I recently traded him a couple of Luger mags for a couple of treatments, heh.

  2. The impetus behind the law was a person being denied care because they refused to answer the doctor’s question about gun ownership. I don’t like the law, but I understand the outrage felt over this case.

    The other (more important) thing this bill does is keeps doctors from recording information about gun ownership. Since federal law is now requiring electronic records storage so doctors can share patient records, it is important that these systems do not become a registry of gun owners.

    I would prefer the law only disallow the recording of gun ownership information. Doctors have a legitimate reason to discuss gun safety with patients, but rarely do they have a legitimate reason to flag a patient as a gun owner.

    I agree this law will likely be struck down. Even though it contains a provision for doctors to ask questions about guns when it is relevant to their patients’ safety, it is both vague and chilling, and any reasonable judge will see that.

  3. David says:

    You mean that the brady bunch is not for common sense restrictions on free speech?

  4. Stranger says:

    The Founders did not contemplate a freedom to ask nosy questions. While the proper response to such a question was and is to either stalk out of the office in high dudgeon or give nosy a clop on the chops, neither are considered socially acceptable. So a law preventing quacks from asking inappropriate questions is appropriate. And given some of the inexplicable decisions I have see, probably defensible.

    Stranger

  5. flighterdoc says:

    If the Brady Bunch, et al win this one, then the various medical professional societies will think it a green light to impose similar requirements, everywhere.

    Not a good thing at all.

  6. mike says:

    My medical records say something like “Patient does not have firearms in the home.” They ask me every time I go to a new doctor and I can see it right there on the computer screen they bring it up. They can ask whatever they want, but the first amendment also gives me the right to give them whatever answer I deem appropriate.

  7. Jake says:

    They can ask whatever they want, but the first amendment also gives me the right to give them whatever answer I deem appropriate.

    At least, it does until the feds use Obamacare to make providing false information to a medical provider a crime.

  8. Chas says:

    Markie Marxist sez: “We Marxists are at war against private gun owners and this law limits our ability to gather actionable intelligence against them. With enough information at our disposable we can move against them. One scenario might play out like this:

    Doctor: “Tell me, Susie, are you ever afraid of your Daddy’s guns?”

    Susie, fidgeting and looking around the room distractedly: “Sometimes. They’re really loud when he shoots them at the gun club.”

    The Doctor, a very left-leaning, lesbian feminist and Brady Campaign contributor, notes in the child’s electronic health record, “I am extremely concerned that the father has repeatedly used his guns to intimidate his daughter. The girl has been made to be afraid. Child Protective Services must be notified. This intolerable situation cannot be allowed to continue. The child must be removed from a home where she cannot feel safe.”

    “Ha! Ha! It’s really about as easy as that. We just construe everything we can against the private gun owner, to the maximum possible extent, with no repercussions against us for doing so. Ha! Ha! That’s why we have to shut this law down. It prevents us from doing as we please to advance our gun ban agenda. That’s just not common communist sense!”

  9. The Second Anonymous says:

    Can’t agree with ya on this one Sebastian.

    Kinda like a bus driver kicking you off the bus because he asked if you have guns at home and you said “yes.”

    And putting that in your record for all your future doctors to see.

    Wonder why they don’t ask about pool safety, or car safety.

    What these anti-gun doctors are doing is basically using their profession as intimidation. And sometimes they did deny treatment because they do not agree with clients on 2A.

  10. Cargosquid says:

    Heh, heh…

    Doctor: Are you afraid of your Daddy’s guns?

    Darling daughter: Um…no.

    Doctor: Do you have access to them?

    Darling daughter: Only when we go shooting……but I usually bring my own.

  11. beatbox says:

    Dumb law. A doctor should be able to ask you anything. You don’t have to answer, and you don’t have to continue seeing him. Take your business elsewhere.

  12. flighterdoc says:

    The problem (for physicians) includes some factors that most aren’t aware of. We’re held to ‘professional standards’, which are in part defined by the ‘professional organizations’ we are members of and are in part certified by.

    If the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as Stalinist an organization as ever existed says that this question must be asked, then it is less than the standard of care to not ask it….

    Down the road, if anything ends up in court, this ‘less than the standard of care’, germain or not, becomes part of the evidence. Or, a documented history of not providing standard of care can result in much higher malpractice insurance premiums, or loss of privileges at hospitals….

    The solution is a law like this one: Telling the professional organizations to go pound sand. This law (as modified) is a good compromise between professional obligations and ethics and privacy.

    Unfortunately, the leadership of medical professional organizations is usually comprised of assholes who were also the student body president in junior high: Who just love the power that they get. And since most physicians actually have to work pretty long hours for a living (I had my first day off in 18 days, today…back on for at least 4 more days without a break tomorrow); wasting time trying to fight these morons is economically disadvantageous.

  13. Alpheus says:

    “If the Brady Bunch, et al win this one, then the various medical professional societies will think it a green light to impose similar requirements, everywhere.

    “Not a good thing at all.”

    Perhaps…but then, this may also cause the legislators concerned with the issue to sit back, ask themselves “Where did we go wrong?” and then pass a law that will solve the issue, and this time will pass Constitutional muster.

    Perhaps, for example, by passing immunity from lawsuits for doctors sued because they didn’t ask the questions about guns. Or just passing a law that makes it illegal to keep a record to the answer of the question.

    If these medical organizations make enough people mad, those offended WILL find a way to neuter those efforts. It will only be a matter of time.

  14. I find a pleasing symmetry across the political spectrum, of the Florida law that bars physicians from asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm by their patients, with proposed and existing laws that bar insurance companies–such as those that bear the costs of medical inquiries at issue–from asking potential clients about their sexual orientation or framing questions in such a way as to determine their sexual orientation. If we can protect the purview and privacy of citizens’preference in the pursuit of happiness, we must be able to apply the same protection in the realm of the right to keep and bear arms in defense of life and liberty.

  15. Griffy says:

    Sounds like a lot of very paranoid people worried about their ability to keep their guns. What doctor is going to do any of the proposed situations in these comments? Geez, are you that worried about your gun rights that you manufacture possible scenarios that would probably never happen? To me doctors are only asking because they want to include in their preventative care that all family members are aware of gun safety. Young children should know about gun safety no matter where it comes from. I would rather have a caring doctor help with protecting family members instead of learning a lesson from a tragic accident.

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