In Florida of all places - Doctors can ask about guns

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Florida doctors can ask patients about guns, court rules
Published February 19, 2017

A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment's right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients' Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn't want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

"The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right," wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. "There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients."

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump's search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

"The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it," he wrote. "The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority."

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the "Docs v. Glocks" case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

"We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on "six anecdotes" about physicians' discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

"There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients' firearms or otherwise infringed on patients' Second Amendment rights," Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient's health or safety, or someone else's safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

"There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use," the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit's direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
 

albin25

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Now, I'm no legal beagle but I wasn't aware the First Amendment included the
right to free interrogation or to be listened to or have any or all of your questions answered.o_O
When should your doctor be required to read you your Miranda rights?


Doctor....." Do you keep a gun in the house?"
Me.........." Are you going to prescribe one? I'm not sure if my policy covers ammo."
 
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Camelfilter

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Wait...they can ask you to leave the room when they ask your kids about certain lifestyle choices and such...now can ask about your household firearms status? Then give criminals drugs in safe spaces so that they can further be criminals...what's going on?...What in tarnation is going on?...

Ohh and don't even get me started on the free emergency room care for illegal aliens...who use the ER as primary care...it's free...
 
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this is an old debate, but still relative. The doctors arent the only ones asking the question, if the provider puts it on the form and you lie, they can cancel your plan. You can ...then have no choice (legally) but to go on Obamacare, but rest assured they ask there too and now your lying to the federal govt or putting your guns on yet another registration list.
 
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I am against any restrictions on the 1st Amendment and I agree with the court that this law was just that. I don't like any law that includes proscriptions on what I or anyone else can say. The way you counter bad speech is with more speech, like this:

Dr. Badspeech: "So, Sigmadog, do you own any firearms?"
Sigmadog Morespeech: "F**k you."

That's my solution, and it doesn't require a legislature to waste time and tax dollars on a stupid law.
 
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As an aside, years ago when I went to my doctor to discuss a vasectomy, he would only talk to me after confirming in person with my wife that she approved of the operation. Yet, if my wife wanted an abortion, she could have done it in secret and I would have had absolutely no say in the matter.

My Body? My Choice? My A$$.
 
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I would respond with SY-OPS,
DR; do you or any member of your household own or store any firearms?
Me; Oh, hell no, I hate them, they are not good for any thing but killing people, especially those damn AR-48's with that thingy that goes up and those scary silencers and pistol grips! MAN, you could take on an army with one of those and a 30 round bullet clip in like 3 seconds!!! NO frickin way man!!!
 
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I would respond with SY-OPS,
DR; do you or any member of your household own or store any firearms?
Me; Oh, hell no, I hate them, they are not good for any thing but killing people, especially those damn AR-48's with that thingy that goes up and those scary silencers and pistol grips! MAN, you could take on an army with one of those and a 30 round bullet clip in like 3 seconds!!! NO frickin way man!!!
(doctor checks off the gun owner box...)

kidding.

Well mostly.
 
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As an aside, years ago when I went to my doctor to discuss a vasectomy, he would only talk to me after confirming in person with my wife that she approved of the operation. Yet, if my wife wanted an abortion, she could have done it in secret and I would have had absolutely no say in the matter.

My Body? My Choice? My A$$.
Yes, I went through this rigamarole as well. Seems our DNA doesn't count, except for paternity...not to protect our vested interest in an unborn child. Doesn't seem very equal under the law now does it?

Brutus ut
 
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