11th Circuit: Law Barring Doctors From Asking About Guns Is Constitutional

3 GUNS(Awr Hawkins)  On July 28 the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction against Florida’s “Firearms Owners’ Privacy Act”–a law that prevents doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, guns in their homes, etc. By a 2-1 vote the 11th Circuit reaffirmed that the law does not violate the First Amendment.

According to the ABA Journal, the law bars doctors from inquiring into gun-related matters unless the “information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” It also prohibits doctors from entering gun-related information into the medical records of a given patient unless that information is particularly pertinent to the patient’s prognosis and/or care.

The law was nicknamed “Docs vs. Glocks” as it moved through the Florida legislature in 2011 and was passed amid growing concerns that Obamacare would lead to doctors contributing to the development of a national gun registry via questions about guns and gun ownership.

Reuters reports that the law was ruled “unconstitutional in 2012.” Florida’s appeal of that ruling led to an 11th Circuit decision finding the law constitutional in 2014 and a second ruling on Tuesday reaffirmed the constitutionality and vacated an injunction against the law.

ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon responded to Tuesday’s ruling by saying:

This is a sad day for Florida doctors, their patients, and for free speech as this unconstitutional law now goes into effect. Doctors and medical personnel throughout Florida are – today – under new orders: talk to your patients about gun safety and risk losing your right to practice medicine in Florida.


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