Rick Scott's "Docs vs. Glocks" Law Struck Down

Categories: Politicks
drgun.jpg
Another month, another one of Rick Scott's controversial laws struck down by a federal court. This time around it's a strange NRA-backed provision that banned doctors from asking patients about owning a gun. A Miami-based federal judge had already placed an injunction on the law, and last week struck it down in court. Though, the state could pursue an appeal.

The "Firearm Owners' Privacy Act" passed the legislature in 2011, and it forbid doctors from asking about guns in most cases. The law did allow doctors to ask about gun ownership in some special cases, but, what do you know, never actually bothered to spell out what those cases might be.

So, was it really much of a problem that doctors were grilling patients about their gun ownership? Not really. An Ocala couple refused to talk to their doctor about guns, so he refused to see them again. They complained to their local state representative. He churned out this messy law, and because the Republican-controlled Florida legislature sits in the NRA's lap, it was passed and signed into law by Rick Scott.

Of course, when one party dominates a legislative body and there's no one there with any power to add some common sense criticism to a bill, they tend to come out badly. So, a host of doctor's groups lined up to challenge it in court, and U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke struck the whole thing down on Friday.

"What is curious about this law -- and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners' speech -- is that it aims to restrict a practitioner's ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient," Cooke wrote.

The state could try and appeal the ruling, but until then the law is basically dead and will not be enforced.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
R. Pimentel
R. Pimentel

Jarod, I see the point that your trying to make.  And to your point your right, we can just say nothing and or find another Dr, is we choose too.  The way I see it is that if a Dr. has a medical concern regarding firearms or discharge of firearms, they can express their concern without asking if you own a weapon.  Your comment that your Dr. asked you and your wife about shooting firearms in which the Dr. stated "trace amounts of lead and arsenic that get on your clothes are harmless to adults, but might have lasting effects on newborns." is great in that he/she provided you information you may or may not have known, but I dont see how you being an owner of a firearm has anything to do with that.  I know of plenty of people that rent weapons and go to the range more than I do, never actually owning a gun.  I also think there is something to be siad that a Dr. takes the Hippocratic oath and then refuses treatment to a patient because they didnt answer a question, and your answer is lie to them or dont answer the question? It all just seems wierd.  Besides, what is the purpose of writing in your records that a patient is a gun owner? How is this information to be used? Did your Dr. put into your records "I spoke with Jaord & wife and warned them of lead and arsenic poisoning to their newborn and also they are gun owners"? I say just treat your patient.  If there is a concern, state your concern without gun ownership questions.  If the Dr. absolutely feels the need to know about firearms or the discharge of firearms the more appropriate question may be (much the way your Dr. asked) "do you or have you discharged firearms/ or go to the range?"  I dont see how knowing gun ownership helps the Dr. make a more educated diagnoses.  You can brow beat all that disagree by saying "your paranoid" or "hypocrites", but I say good for having an opinion and getting involved.  And although we can just say bye to our Dr. I think the better course of action is not ask questions of gun ownership that are useless to diagnoses and just treat the patient.

Michelle
Michelle

 Kyle Munzenrieder should be embarrassed and has no idea what this really means!

Terrios
Terrios

So now you want me to start lying. I won't lie as it is against God's laws. But, I'm not going to discuss wheither or not I own any guns. Not even a psychologist.

Rbraddam
Rbraddam

Just say No if a doctor asks you if you have any guns in your house. It's not like you are under oath and can be prosecuted for perjury if you lie to a doctor about anything at all.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

So, it's Okay to ask about guns and for a doctor to refuse treatment if you don't answer the questions? What's next? Political affiliation? Annual income? Hobbies? Well, since you won't answer those question... find another doctor. Why are doctors asking about guns?? Do they also ask about illegal drug use? Driving without a license? Drunk driving? Nope. A doctor is not the US safety office. Florida in this case is allowing "Doctors" to become arms of the federal government bureaucracy. Doctors now can now list anything on you in your records for the Federal Government to use against you when it wants. An article supporred this saying guns kill kids. Well, also add in how many kids drown each year in pools. Let's ban them also!!! Keep a doctors questions limited to treating the ailment the patient is there for.

Glenn61
Glenn61

If my Doctor is asking me about guns and how many I have,,I'm finding another Doctor,,,, because his Left wing political motives are greater than his concerns for my health.

jrw113
jrw113

As usual, another Federal Judge knows what is best for us and has decided to put their stamp of disapproval on a good law.  I wonder how people who don't like this law would react if thier doctor started digging into their PRIVATE lives (drug use, sexual orientation and practices, drinking habits, driving habits, political orientation) and refused to see them if they wouldn't discuss the matter.  We do have rights in this country that the big brother government keeps wanting to infringe on.  "What is curious about this law -- and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners' speech -- is that it aims to restrict a practitioner's ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient," Cooke wrote.  What a load of crap.  This whole line of questioning came into being becasue of the anti gun bias of many doctors groups and they have been trying to use it as a wedge issue to espouse their anti gun opinions. If I want to talk with my doctor about guns I'll bring it up, otherwise it is none of his business if I have guns in my home. 

tess
tess

You know Dick Scott will appeal.  After all he has to keep "jobs" for his lawyer friends.  Everything w/ him is about a buck in his pocket, or the pockets of his corrupt cronies.  They might get away w/ this crap here on earth, but when the day comes and someone larger than life is the judge, let's see how well Dickless Scott fares.

Jarod Jackson
Jarod Jackson

Then don't lie. Say "I decline to answer, and if you insist on asking me, I will find a new doctor who respects my privacy." So you refuse to lie because it's against God's laws? Does that mean that if I came up to you in the street, and randomly asked you a personal question like, "Are you gay?" "How often do you have sex with your wife?" or "How much money do you make?" you would be compelled to tell me the truth? Wow, I guess that means that in order to protect your right to privacy, the government will have to pass another law making it a crime for "Guys on the street to ask strangers questions that might make them uncomfortable."

Duh
Duh

Actually they do ask about illegal drug use

Jarod Jackson
Jarod Jackson

"Florida in this case is allowing "Doctors" to become arms of the federal government bureaucracy." Oh, the irony. You seem so concerned about the government socializing medicine, yet you're the guy supporting a law where the government puts prior restraints on doctors actions. Hypocrisy, thy handle is Concerned Citizen. You make the slippery slope argument, yet you're the one who is giving us the first hard shove. Currently, a doctor can refuse treatment to anyone (short of some emergency situations.) If you are pro-life, and your patient wants an abortion, you don't have to help her get one. In fact, you can spend your entire visit trying to convince her to keep the baby until she leaves, or you can even drop her as a patient if she insists on getting the abortion. A true citizen and patriot should be more concerned every time the government makes a new law than when the courts strike one down. We have so many laws motivated by good intentions and the idea that "well, no decent person would ever do such a thing, so who will it bother if we make it illegal." At best, we end up with a system of laws so complex that even a good lawyer doesn't always know whether he's breaking the law. At worst, it turns out that, "wow, there really IS a situation where a decent person would do that thing we made illegal, we just didn't foresee it." I mean, just look at your list. Political affiliation? Sure, I can't think of a reason a doctor should ever ask you that either. But hobbies? Are you serious? You actually cited "hobbies" as an example of horrible things that doctors might ask you next if this law is struck down? Have you never been to a doctor? Or even web MD? Have you ever watched House? Real life isn't Star Trek--you can't just run a scanner and get a magical diagnosis. Different problems often share the same symptoms. One problem might present entirely different symptoms in different situations. More specific tests tend to be slow and expensive. So do you think that maybe, just maybe, it'll be useful for the doctor to know whether you spend all your spare time running on concrete and jumping between buildings, or climbing mountains, or scuba diving, when he's trying to figure out why you have pain in your joints? My wife's doctor asked us if we go shooting frequently. As it turns out, she wanted to warn us that we should be much more careful about cleaning up before we go home because the trace amounts of lead and arsenic that get on your clothes are harmless to adults, but might have lasting effects on newborns. The only thing about the Doctor's question I found remotely offensive was the assumption that, between a doctor and a guy with a lot of education and even more experience with guns, we didn't already know that.

Jarod Jackson
Jarod Jackson

I think you're incredibly misguided if you think that a doctor is actually more concerned with "Left wing political motives" than your health. Medical students tend to skew liberal, but established physicians tend to go the other way because they realize 1) conservatives favor tort reform, and physicians hate trial lawyers and paying for malpractice insurance 2) specialist physicians tend to make more money in the form of ordinary income, which the Democrats try to tax more heavily, while the GOP prefers to lower taxes for higher brackets 3) generalist physicians tend to own their own practices, meaning that they have assets to devise to their heirs (conservatives oppose the inheritance tax) and either rent or purchase substantial amounts of real property (guess who's policies drive up real estate costs?) But more importantly, physicians tend to take their oaths seriously. You are, however, incredibly insightful because you picked up on what every commentor here missed: You can tell your doctor to shove it and find another doctor. THAT is the whole point of a free country and a free market. You can say what you want, ask what you want, answer what you want, and do business with who you want. Let's say, for example, you don't want to give any business to liberals. You have the freedom to ask your doctor if he voted for Obama. He has the right to answer you or not. You have the right to refuse to use that doctor if he refuses to answer, or if he voted for Obama. He has the right to refuse to take you as a patient for even asking the question. It's all about liberty. Frankly, I think only a moron would refuse to use a talented doctor because of his political affiliations, but I think that only a traitor to our country's ideals would support "Glenn's Law" making it a crime for patients to ask their doctors who they voted for. I fought for your right to ask that question. Well, I carried a rifle in a time of peace for your right, but a lot of better men than either of us have spilled blood for our freedoms. Don't you think we owe it to them to not to tear down one set of freedoms in the name of another?

Jarod Jackson
Jarod Jackson

As a once Marine and current and avid gun-owner, and an attorney who worked in Jacksonville, FL for several years, married a doctor, and actually read both the U.S. and the Florida Constitution, I think you're comment completely misses the mark. For one thing, probably 80% to 90% of my colleagues, and my wife's, were gun owners, a good chunk of them voted Democrat (just to shatter a few of your stereotypes), and out of the gun owners, I'd say at least 1/3 or 1/2 of them went to the range on a regular basis. JRW, let's assume, arguendo, that you're a single homosexual who regularly has casual relationships. You have a constitutionally recognized privacy interest to engage in that behavior without government interference. The government can't subpoena you just to ask if you're gay. You even have a common law right to sue people who tortiously violate that privacy right (by, for example, sneaking a camera into your hotel room). However, that's pretty much where the government protection ends.  Your friends have a 1st Amendment right to ask you if you're gay, (you have the right to lie about it, both because of your privacy right and your 1st Amendment right.) If your boss spots you on a date with a man, he can fire you. If your pastor sees you, he can expel you from the church. As uncomfortable as it might make you to hear the question, not only does your doctor have a 1st Amendment right to ask the question, he also has a compelling medical reason: Gays have specific, icky medical risks that I don't like to think of, just like sexually active people would have risks that people who aren't don't. Honestly, I think it's silly that a pediatrician should ask a patient if they have guns in the house, exposed wiring, or a swimming pool, because frankly anyone who's so stupid that they need their doctor to tell them to keep their guns out of reach of kids, to child proof their house, and to either barricade their pool or teach their kids to swim (preferably both), shouldn't be contributing to the gene pool to begin with. But the whole point of our liberty based society is the presumption that the government shouldn't put prior restraints on the actions of free citizens without a damn good reason.

Doug
Doug

 Any comment on the content of the story tess? Or are you suffering a case of HSS (Hate Scott Syndrome)?  HB155 is a good law that addresses a real need to reign in the anti-gun activists who are pushing some doctors to invade all our privacy. I look forward to it being tweaked, passed again and in force by next year.

Jarod Jackson
Jarod Jackson

HB155 is a horrible law that sacrifices our First Amendment rights in the guise of protecting our Second Amendment rights. Doug, I assume you own a gun. May I ask you why? (You don't have to answer. Please don't try to pass a law making it illegal for me to ask questions in internet fora because it might infringe on your privacy rights.) I own guns, and practice with them frequently, for three reasons. 1) I enjoy shooting sports. They're fun. 2) I want to be able to defend myself and my family from the criminal acts of other private individuals should the need arise. 3) I want to show that I am ready to defend this country, our ideals, and our civil liberties. Now, I'm not one of those militia types who wants to take up arms in rebellion every time the wrong party gets voted into the White House, and frankly, I think that as long as we have legitimate, if sometimes flawed, political and judicial processes to address our grievances, that anyone who would directly use violence to compel our government to do something is a terrorist and a traitor who should be shot, but I do believe that gun ownership sends a message that we will hold on to our freedom to our dying breaths. I ask you the question because I suspect that you're one of those many people who love reason 1) and maybe reason 2), but have lost sight of reason 3). If you go to Russia, or China, or any other "totalitarian" country, you'll see that the government doesn't actually control what you do (except possibly North Korea.) In these countries people think they have freedom, but it's the sort of "conditional" freedom you advocate in HB155, and conditional freedom is no freedom at all. Freedom of religion is meaningless if you're only free to pick "legitimate" religions. Just ask anyone living in Iran. Freedom of the press is meaningless if the government can censor what you air after you made your "free choice" on what to report on. Just ask anyone in China. Freedom of speech means you get to say what you want and ask what you want. If the government makes it illegal to ask certain questions, then that's not freedom at all. Just ask anyone living under HB155. Incidentally, you should read the Florida Constitution. It recognizes one of the strongest express privacy rights in the nation, but people tend to overestimate what it means. Like the morons who think that the 1st Amendment means they can call their boss an asshole without suffering consequences. Between the 4th/14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Florida's own stronger Constitutional protections, nobody can unreasonably violate our reasonable expectation of privacy without our consent or a compelling reason. That means no sneaking on to our property to go through our drawers or count our guns, no stopping us in the middle of the street without probable cause to search our pocket, no breaking down our doors to see what we're doing at night. What it doesn't protect against is people, government actors or private citizens, asking us to consent to a search we don't have to agree to. If a cop knocks on your door and says "A little girl got lost around here, and we have no reason to suspect you did anything wrong, but we're searching everywhere and it would really help if you'd consent to let us search your back yard," it is perfectly legal for him to ask. It is perfectly legal for you to say no, but if you say yes, his search will not violate your right to privacy because you gave consent. The only thing Florida law says about that is that he can't get your consent by putting his hand on his gun in an implied threat, or by threatening any of your other rights in any way.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...