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

John Commins, July 29, 2014

A Florida law prohibiting doctors from talking with patients about gun safety is upheld by a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but an injunction blocking the law remains in effect.

Family physician associations say they will challenge a federal appellate court's ruling that upholds a Florida law prohibiting physicians from speaking with patients about firearms.

The 2-1 ruling issued Friday by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturns a June 2012 U.S. District Court ruling that struck down the state law – popularly referred to as the "physician gag law" or the "Docs v. Glocks law"—as a violation of physicians' First Amendment rights.

Mobeen Rathore, MD, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Florida Pediatric Society, and a lead plaintiff in the suit, said physicians will appeal the ruling to the full appeals court.

"We strongly disagree with the 11th Circuit's decision. It is an egregious violation of the First Amendment rights of pediatricians and threatens our ability to provide our patients and their families with scientific, unbiased information," Rathore said in prepared remarks.

"This dangerous decision gives state legislatures free license to restrict physicians from asking important questions about health and safety that are vital to providing the best medical care to patients."

Doctors who break the Florida law could face discipline, including fines and loss of license. However, an injunction blocking the law remains in effect.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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