FL Law Sought To Shut Drs. Mouths On Guns

Legislation signed into law by Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) sought to strip doctors, particularly pediatricians, of their First Amendment rights.

While the National Rifle Association (NRA) was behind the bill, and for the record I support the NRA just not in this instance, their argument was that doctors were interfering with the right to bear arms. That is not what was going on. Pediatricians were simply concerned that if there was a gun in the house that encouraging parents to be careful was necessary. Encouragement is not interfering with the right to bear arms.

Frankly, those that have pediatricians that you have taken your children to for long period of time are almost like family anyway and so you would take their concerns as you would any other family member.

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The legislation was called Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act (aka the ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ law). It was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke.

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“What is curious about this law—and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners’ speech—is that it aims to restrict a practitioner’s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,” Cooke wrote in her ruling.

“The state asserts that it has an interest in protecting the exercise of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” she continued. “I do not disagree that the government has such an interest in protecting its citizens’ fundamental rights. The Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, however, simply does not interfere with the right to keep and bear arms.”

The Miami Herald reports,

Cooke, the judge, said the legislation was based on anecdotal information and unfounded conjecture. Her decision was praised by the groups of plaintiffs, which included the Florida Pediatric Society and Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

“I’m ecstatic our challenge was successful,” said Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, a North Miami Beach plaintiff, who represented the Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

“We’re acting out of commonsense, and this is a commonsense issue,” said Wollschlaeger, a past president of the Dade County Medical Association. “My fear is the state will appeal and keeping wasting money to fight windmills. This is an ideologically driven, politically motivated vendetta by the NRA [National Rifle Association] that has to stop.”

“Guns in the home are a proven deadly risk,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, said in a statement following Cooke’s decision. “Guns kill eight children every day. The government cannot tell us or our doctors that we are prohibited from discussing the deadly risks posed by guns.”

While I’m no friend of the Brady Center, he is right. The government cannot tell a citizen that they cannot speak about a subject. In fact, doctors don’t seem to have a problem asking me and my wife about birth control (we have 9 kids) every time we’ve had a child. We just politely say, “We’re not interested.” It always gives us opportunity to tell them why and that is because children are a gift from God and thus why would we want to say no to God’s gifts if He so chooses to bless us. The same can be handled by adults and talks of guns with their doctors. If one is not interested in hearing it, then politely say, “I’ve got it handled.” If you are, then be appreciative and listen. Simple. No government intervention is necessary.

What is amazing to me is that a “conservative” GOP governor would sign this law and that the NRA would back it. I have let the NRA know that I don’t approve of the law, even though I don’t live in Florida. It is just as unconstitutional to silence people’s speech as it is to bar them from keeping and bearing arms. Both are important to protect.

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