One would place restrictions on questions that physicians could ask patients about guns and gun ownership, including children. Violators could be fined $10,000 to $100,000, and a companion measure in the House would make it a felony.
The Florida Medical Association is rightly against it, saying it violates free-speech rights and the doctor-patient relationship that necessitates physicians have information about all factors affecting a patientâ€™s safety.
The FMA is correct about the bill violating free speech and free association. I agree it’s untenable from a First Amendment viewpoint, and am very disappointed NRA is pushing this. But doctors have no right to pry into non-medically relevant facets of someone’s life, and gun ownership is not medically relevant. The only excuse I could see for prying into that area is if a psychiatrist was treating a minor patient for depression, and told the parents to keep the guns locked up, along with just about anything else that might be dangerous to a potentially suicidal individual. That fits in the realm of just being good advice. As a general matter, gun ownership is not a disease (no matter how much some wish it to be), and is therefore outside the field of medicine. Doctors should stop asking about it as a matter of routine.
This is really a case of both sides in this debate being wrong.