Monday, July 28, 2014

NRA cheers court's upholding of Docs vs. Glocks bill in Florida

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

click to enlarge doctors-guns-579x360.jpg
The National Rifle Association issued out a press release today, touting Friday's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Court that will now ban doctors from discussing safety regarding the presence of guns in a patient’s home. 

Calling it "a significant defeat for the gun control lobby and its allies," the NRA released a statement by its Institute for Legislative Action’s Executive Director Chris Cox, who said, "Every gun owner in Florida and across the country is grateful for this common sense ruling. It is not a physician's business whether his or her patient chooses to exercise their fundamental, individual right to own a firearm.”
Heavily pushed by the gun lobby, the GOP-led Florida Legislature passed the controversial bill deemed "Docs. vs. Glocks" by its critics back in 2011. The bill said that for asking a patient a question about whether or not there might be guns in the house, a doctor in Florida could lose his or her medical license or be fined $10,000. 

Immediately after it was then signed by Rick Scott, the ACLU of Florida and a host of other groups sued to stop its implementation from taking place, and in 2012 U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke declared the legislation unconstitutional as an impermissible restriction on free speech. She also blocked the state from enforcing the law. 

But on Friday the Court of Appeals in the 11th Circuit ruled 2-1 to reverse that decision, with the opposing justice, Circuit Justice Charles Wilson, blasting the majority for what appears to be an obvious suppression of free speech. 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 agreed 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."

“We are astounded that a court would allow the legislature to override the free speech rights of doctors and medical personnel," said ACLU of Florida president Howard Simon late Friday afternoon. "It’s a sad day when judges tell doctors what is in the best interest of their patients. This unconstitutional law gags doctors and prevents them from talking to their patients about measures to help parents protect children from guns in the home. The only thing that makes this discussion ‘bad medical practice’ in the view of two federal judges is the fact that it has to do with guns.”

Months before Judge Cooke struck down the law in 2012, former state Representative Rick Kriseman filed legislation that would have repealed the law. 

The now-St. Pete Mayor accused his Republican colleagues who supported the bill in the legislature "hypocritical," saying such a law was antithetical to traditional conservative concerns about excessive government regulations and government involvement in health care.

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