A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a Florida law that restricts doctors — namely pediatricians — from asking their patients about guns.
“At issue in this litigation is a law directed at maintaining patients’ privacy rights regarding firearm ownership within the context of the doctor-patient relationship,” the ruling reads. “In effect, however, the law curtails practitioners’ ability to inquire about whether patients own firearms and burdens their ability to deliver a firearm safety message to patients, under certain circumstances.”
In response to the ruling, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) press secretary, Lane Wright, told TPM, “The Privacy of Firearm Owners legislation was carefully crafted to respect the first amendment. We plan to appeal the judge’s block, and we’re confident we’ll win the appeal.”
As TPM has reported, a group of doctors — including the Florida chapters of the America Academy of Pediatricians, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians — filed suit against the law, saying it prohibits doctors from speaking freely with their patients. Violating the law could carry a fine of up to $10,000 and loss of license if a patient filed a complaint, the AP reports.
Lobbyists for the National Rifle Association helped write the legislation, saying in a release that “doctors need to treat illness, not guns.” The NRA argued that doctors are increasingly prying into patients’ personal lives. The NRA did not return TPM’s request for comment.
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David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com