A federal appeals court has ruled that a Florida law preventing doctors from talking about gun ownership with their patients is constitutional. Medical professionals are saying this is a violation of rights – and harmful to a patient’s health.
“When you take your children to a doctor, it’s because they’re sick or they need medical care. You don’t take your child to a doctor to have the doctor express his or her political views about guns,” said NRA spokeswoman Marion Hammer.‘Docs vs. Glocks’ was the phrase coined after the Florida legislature passed a law in 2011 forbidding doctors from talking with patients about gun ownership. The NRA heavily backed the proposal.
‘Docs vs. Glocks’ wasthe phrase coined after the Florida legislature passed a law in 2011 forbidding doctors from talking with patients about gun ownership. The NRA heavily backed the proposal.
A lower court judge found the law unconstitutional in 2012. Now, a federal appeals court has ruled the other way. Healthcare professionals say the number of gun related accidents is reason enough to have a conversation with their patients.
Accidental shooting deaths killed at least 17 children last year in Florida. Dr. Louis St. Petery says it should be no different than talking to a parent about car seats for safety.
“Prevention is the name of the game, so, for prevention of diseases there are immunizations which have done a terrific job, but for children, now the biggest killers are accidents,” said Dr. St. Petery.
Pro-gun groups say the law protects a patient's privacy. Physicians don’t need to know what they own.
“They’re not firearms instructors; they’re not safety instructors; they’re trained in medicine. That’s why we go see them,” said Hammer.
Florida’s American Civil Liberties Union bashed the appeals court decision.
“These conversations are needed, and we can’t allow the legislature to block these conversations just because it’s a conversation about guns,” said Howard Simon, ACLU Florida’s Executive Director.
The ban on the law will be kept in place until the entire appeals process has been completed.
The physicians and gun control groups involved in the lawsuit have said they will appeal the federal court’s decision. The ruling does allow doctors to give patients pamphlets or brochures on safety.