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Physicians to Appeal 'Docs v. Glocks' Ruling in FL

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2014

Writing for the majority, Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, appointed to the court by President Nixon, said the law takes into account a patient's "relative powerlessness" in a physician's examining room, and "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," Tjoflat wrote. "Any burden the Act places on physician speech is thus entirely incidental."

In dissent, Judge Charles R. Wilson, appointed to the court by President Clinton, said gun violence is a serious public health issue and that the Florida law "significantly infringes" upon a physician's legitimate reasons to raise gun safety concerns with patients.

"Simply put, the Act is a gag order that prevents doctors from even asking the first question in a conversation about firearms," Wilson wrote. "The Act prohibits or significantly chills doctors from expressing their views and providing information to patients about one topic and one topic only, firearms."

"Regardless of whether we agree with the message conveyed by doctors to patients about firearms, I think it is perfectly clear that doctors have a First Amendment right to convey that message."

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7 comments on "Physicians to Appeal 'Docs v. Glocks' Ruling in FL"


Asok Asus (7/30/2014 at 5:01 PM)
Why would a physician focus on guns unless it was simply because they had an anti-gun agenda? There are far more dangerous items in households than guns, such as cars, motorcycles, bleach, antifreeze, farm equipment, ladders, poisons, chain saws, table saws, knives, fireworks, gasoline cans, lawn mowers, and improperly stored and cooked raw chicken. In fact, why would a physician ask about ANY of this stuff at all unless the reason for the visit was because of an accident with one of the above? Why would ANY of this be any business of the physician (or government) unless said item caused the injury being treated? I mean, what's the physician going to do with this information, say, gun possession? Keep records to turn over to the government? Lecture or teach gun safety because the physician is an expert about that? Does it actually serve the sick patient's interest for the physician to spend a chunk of their extremely limited face time asking irrelevant questions and gathering unrelated personal data instead of trying to actually focus on curing the sick patient? Isn't a cure why a patient sought out the doctor in the first place? What they are paying the doctor for? How would you like to pay a plumber, auto mechanic, or electrician to interrogate you about your gun ownership or your medical problems for that matter instead of fixing what you hired them to fix? FACTS TO PONDER : (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are120,000. (Calculation) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Now think about this: Guns: (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million..) (B) The number of accidental gun death per year, all age groups, is 1,500. (Calculation) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188. Statistics courtesy of FBI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.' >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. From: Truth or fiction.com

Rfhod (7/30/2014 at 8:58 AM)
I don't understand the ruling. The patient can always refuse to provide the information about whether they have guns and refuse to discuss gun safety with their physician. It's not like the physician can force them to talk about it.

H Brownstein (7/30/2014 at 7:54 AM)
Physicians ask patient personal questions that can affect the patients health all the time. I f you are a gun owner what are you affraid of? The NRA restriction on free speech should not be allowed by the courts