Court Strikes Florida's 'Docs vs. Glocks' Law

Doctors can now ask patients about guns
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2017 8:25 AM CST
Court Strikes Florida's 'Docs vs. Glocks' Law
A handgun with a silencer is shown at a gun range in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Doctors in Florida are now free to ask patients about guns in their home despite protests from the National Rifle Association. A federal appeals court struck down a provision of the so-called "Docs vs. Glocks" law barring doctors from asking patients about gun ownership unless the information is medically relevant in a 10-1 decision Thursday, noting it violates a doctor's right to free speech. The provision was included in 2011's Firearm Owners' Privacy Act after a few incidents: In one, a couple complained their doctor refused to see them because they wouldn't discuss guns, per the Miami Herald. The Washington Post puts some doctors' position thusly: That it's "within the bounds of ethical medical care for doctors to ask about gun safety at home, in the way a physician might ask parents of small children if they have a backyard pool."

The court found Thursday "there was no evidence whatsoever" that doctors "infringed on patients' Second Amendment rights." Indeed, the law meant doctors could face penalties simply by "adequately performing their professional obligation," read the majority opinion, per WJXT. Florida's ACLU branch says "the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun," per Reuters, though the issue could still be brought in front of the Supreme Court. With Thursday's decision, doctors will still be barred from discriminating against patients because they own guns. As always, patients can also refuse to answer questions from doctors. (More Florida stories.)

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