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Politics

NRA Slams Docs Vs. Glocks Ruling: 'Court Treats Gun Owners Like Second-Class Citizens'

February 17, 2017 - 12:15pm

Doctors in the Sunshine State can now freely ask whether their patients own guns in their home after a federal appeals court struck down the law on Thursday -- and gun rights groups haven’t been passive in expressing their dissatisfaction over the ruling.

In 2011, the Florida legislature created the “Docs vs. Glocks” law, which effectively barred doctors and physicians from asking questions about their patients’ gun ownership unless it was medically relevant. Under the law, patients could also report whether a doctor was “harassing” them for gun ownership.

The law immediately became controversial and doctors swiftly took it to court.

Six years later, court judges ruled the law infringed upon doctors’ First Amendment rights in a 10-1 ruling.

“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,” wrote Judge Adalberto J. Jordan in the court opinion.

Pro-gun groups are less than pleased with the ruling, saying the decision has grave implications for Second Amendment rights in the Sunshine State.

“This activist decision attempts to use the First Amendment as a sword to terrorize the Second Amendment and completely disregards the rights and the will of the elected representatives of the people of Florida,” said NRA past president and current lobbyist Marion Hammer.

Hammer slammed the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for siding with the doctors in the case, but said there were some perks. The longtime gun rights advocate pointed out the court left some provisions of the law intact allowing patients to refuse to answer doctors’ questions about gun ownership.

“I’m sure doctors are not happy about that,” Hammer said.

Gun safety groups applauded the decision, reveling in the loss, declaring it a victory in a “life-or-death” situation affecting families in Florida. 

“This decision is a sharp rebuke for the NRA leadership, which has long sought to suppress research funding, data and speech – and in this case, to gag doctors by barring them from discussing gun safety with their patients,” said president of Everytown for Gun Safety John Feinblatt.  “It is now plainly clear: Physicians do not leave their free speech rights at the clinic door. Doctors can – and should – talk to their patients about responsible gun ownership and the risks that come with having unsecured guns in the home, just as they would with any other safety concern.”

Hammer criticized the ruling, saying the power to regulate the profession rests with the state Legislature.

“Doctors are businessmen, not gods,” Hammer said. “This Court treats gun owners as second-class citizens.”

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

 

Comments

Unless something is relevant to treatment, there's no reason for the doctor to be asking about it anyway. And unless the doctor has training about a certain subject, their malpractice insurance probably won't cover them giving advice about it... something patients might need to remind their doctors about from time to time. I doubt _most_ doctors have _any_ firearm safety training. Pretty sure it's not something covered in medical school, at least. So if they're doing more than providing an overall home-safety brochure in the waiting room (put a locking fence around your pool, keep poisons & cleaners out of reach of children, lock up firearms when not in use, wear your seatbelt, wear helmets for skating, riding bicycles & motorcycles...) their malpractice insurance probably wouldn't cover them.

Absolutely Tampaguy.....just say no. Does one tell their Dr how much they actually drink or smoke it how fast they actually drive or eat fatty foods? This is really a non news story. You don't have to keep a Dr that asks what you don't want to be asked.

Absolutely Tampaguy.....just day no. Does one tell their Dr how much they actually drink or smoke it how fast they actually drive or eat fatty foods? This is really a non news story. You don't have to keep a Dr that asks what you don't want to be asked.

I am trying to Imagine any conceivable circumstance in which a doctor would ask such a question and further any circumstance in which I would be obliged to answer. Answer: None.

Uh well kinda doc, I'm the owner of a gun store.

If you tell the doctor yes and later sell the gun will you need to make an appointment with that doctor and pay a co-pay of $30 just to tell him you sold the gun and to whom? Hey doc we also have a drawer full of butter knives too!

What is this; a question about the song "Dude Look Like A Lady."

A very sensible ruling, don't know why this silly law was ever passed in the first place.

"Got a 'tongue depressor' Doc?"... Well, stick it in your mouth and shut the phuque up until I leave your office .

What does any of this matter now that mentally ill people are allowed to own guns -

Here's my concern. If someone answers "No" does that information end up in a computer database to later be hacked? Will criminal hackers then know who is easy picking for home robbery/invasion?

If found you lied to a doctor you will be arrested for a felony.

It's a felony to lie to a Dr????? Wow, everyone who has crapped between a pair of shoes is a felon! Newly diagnosed felons, put your guns on your porch, I'll come get them, we can't have y'all getting in more trouble for violating your felon status!

No, it's not.

Marion Hammer - again. We know.

The only thing worse than no data is bad data.

If ones aims are to remain "secure in their papers and affects" and maitain their privacy, the data which represents a violation of that privacy, is not preferable to "no data".

Medical personnel today won't make a decision about a medical issue without consulting a specialist. So their qualifications to discuss gun safety and ownership is equally suspect. If my physician ever asks me about gun safety or gun ownership, I will ask for their qualifications to discus it without a specialist on hand. If they are not qualified, there's no use discussing gun safety.

The first time I went to my current practice, one of the "standard" questions the intake clerk / medical assistant / nurse (not sure what she was) read off their form was, "do you have any firearms?". I gave her a big smile and said, "Yes, of course I do! I'm a certified firearm safety instructor. Why do you ask? Did you want to set up safety training for the staff here?" Never heard anything more about the topic. I figured the answer should have been obvious, since I had an empty holster on my belt in plain sight... (To spare their tender feelings, I don't open carry there. Always have the one in my purse though, despite the "keep out, evil gun owner!" signs on some of the doors.) But if they wanted to make an issue of it, I'd want to know the doctor's qualifications on the subject. If they're more than mine, fine, I'll listen to your opinion. Thing is, if a person has at least as much safety training as I do, they won't pay any attention to the gun-grabbers.

Ohhh!! I like your reasoning--will remember.

They have a right to ask. I have the right to not answer.

Abortion providers are often forced to provide state mandated messaging to their patients often of no value and worse flat out wrong. Perhaps it is time to get the state of the relationship between doctor and patient - period.

None of this nonsense is a big deal. We all have and enjoy our guns. Sometimes my NRA folks like to stir it up and rally the members. It's all fun but has no real relevance to me. I have guns and ammo and will forever. Safely locked though.

I don't care if Medical personnel ask if I have weapons / guns at home. Simply say "NO" - you are NOT "under oath". As an aside... many people don't tell Doctors EVERYTHING anyway!

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