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Colorado Shootings Put Docs vs. Glocks Law in Spotlight

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, July 26, 2012

Woolschlaeger and other physicians disagreed, saying they were only doing their jobs to enhance patient care. The Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatric Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physicians joined Wollschlaegger and other physicians in the lawsuit.

Their collective contention was that the Florida law significantly curtailed their First Amendment rights to exchange information with patients about gun safety. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed the suit, saying it represented 11,000 physicians in Florida.

The physicians first won a temporary restraining order, then a permanent injunction on June 29 after a judged ruled that Florida law violates the First Amendment about "truthful speech" concerning the dangers of easy access to guns.

U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke found that the Florida legislature relied not on facts, but on anecdotal information about physicians asking patients about firearm ownership. That information included allegations that physicians misrepresented themselves by saying Medicaid would not pay claims if patients did not answer questions about firearms, or that doctors were refusing to examine patients who refused to answer questions about firearms ownership. Cooke also found that the law illegally "impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient."

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4 comments on "Colorado Shootings Put Docs vs. Glocks Law in Spotlight"


Timothy Wheeler, MD (7/27/2012 at 4:06 PM)
Many doctors responding to this Florida bill know nothing of the history of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the AMA in advancing an aggressive gun control agenda. These organizations seek to [INVALID] doctors into their patients' private lives not to prevent injury, but to promote a political agenda against gun owners. That is wrong. In the 1990s the AAP teamed up with Handgun Control, Inc. (now known as the Brady Campaign) to craft their firearm policy. That policy, essentially unchanged for nearly 20 years, urges doctors to probe parents about guns in their homes and even to get rid of them. This goes far beyond any legitimate doctor's role. It is an ethical boundary violation to use your position as a doctor to advance a political agenda. Doctors who do so should be punished. The Docs v Glocks law addresses this legitimate need. Timothy Wheeler, MD

Dawn Simonds (7/27/2012 at 9:32 AM)
Thanks for this highly relevant and important article. Legislation that prevents physicians from counseling patients about their health is dangerous to the medical profession and to the patients physicians have vowed to serve.

Timothy Wheeler, MD (7/27/2012 at 5:59 AM)
Dr. Wollschlaeger, having military experience, should know that his term "assault rifle" refers to a military rifle with the ability to fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger (i.e., a machine gun). Such firearms have been all but outlawed in America since the 1930s, and crimes committed with them since then have been extremely rare. He probably means semiautomatic rifles, which people still commonly confuse with machine guns, mostly because of mischaracterizations like this one. Contrary to Dr. Wollschlaeger's assertions, regular citizens have used semiautomatic rifles to lawfully defend their lives and property during disasters such as Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, and Katrina, and the Rodney King riots. Timothy Wheeler, MD Director Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership A Project of the Second Amendment Foundation