The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has ruled that doctors do not have the right to ask patients if they own a firearm when unnecessary to a patient’s care. This ruling is a significant defeat for the gun control lobby and its allies. The Florida chapters of the American Academies of Pediatrics and American College of Physicians, along with a number of other groups and individuals backed by the anti-gun community, filed this lawsuit against the State of Florida after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill backed by the National Rifle Association in 2011.
In the ruling, the three judge panel ruled: “In keeping with these traditional codes of conduct—which almost universally mandate respect for patient privacy—the Act simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters. As such, we find that the Act is a legitimate regulation of professional conduct. The Act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care.”
I know that some people think this law was bad to begin with regarding Freedom of Speech, but I am gonna disagree on that point. We are not talking about the free flow of ideas or even advice from one individual that is trained on the subject but a couple of medical associations with long-standing political views about guns.
A main attorney who filed the appeal said the decision would cause Florida physicians to curb their own speech on safe gun ownership.
“We strongly disagree with the panel majority’s holding that Florida doctors have no First Amendment right to ask patients about potential dangers in their lives, including the presence of guns in the home,” Douglas H. Hallward-Driemeier said in an emailed statement.
The ruling, if it stands, “will prevent patients from receiving critical truthful information that protects not only themselves but their families and others,” he said.
I am an NRA Instructor but you would not take professional advice from me on how to treat gall stones, yet we are to believe that a doctor without any firearms instruction training is perfectly able to give “critical truthful advice” on firearms safety because he just happens to have an M.D. appended to his name.
The losing side is mulling about continuing the fight. So it is not over yet.