Docs can safely talk about guns with patients again in Florida

There’s just so much S#!T in the news every day that important stuff seems to fly under the radar. Like this:

A federal appeals court cleared the way on Thursday for Florida doctors to talk to their patients about gun safety, overturning a 2011 law that pitted medical providers against the state’s powerful gun lobby.

In its 10-to-1 ruling, the full panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit concluded that doctors could not be threatened with losing their license for asking patients if they owned guns and for discussing gun safety because to do so would violate their free speech.

I’ve written a number of times, most importantly in the NYT, about the laws in some states (like Florida) that attempted to prohibit doctors from talking to their patients about gun safety. My prior pieces stand.

The bottom line is that trying to restrict what doctors can talk about was found to violate First Amendment rights of physicians. The appeals court did find that one part of the law, which said doctors can’t deny service to patients because they own guns, was constitutional. That wasn’t what this lawsuit was about, but that much stands – appropriately.

Regardless, you can still lie to your doctor if you want, about guns or any other issue; you’re not under oath. You can also refuse to answer any questions; you’re not under subpoena. Neither will help doctors to help you, but they’re entirely within your rights. Demanding doctors not ask you certain questions isn’t.


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