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Thursday, June 09, 2011

In Florida - Guns Are Not a Health Issue - Huh?

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill this monthmaking Florida the first state in which it's illegal for any physician to "ask questions concerning the ownership of a firearm" or "harass … a patient about firearm ownership during an examination." The stated purpose of this law is to protect patient "privacy." Which raises a very important legal and constitutional question: Huh?

Patient privacy is already protected by law, and the right to bear arms is also already protected by law. So the new bill mainly just protects patients from feeling bad or judged at their doctor's office. Now if Florida doctors make their patients feel bad about their guns—or if patients only think their doctors are trying to make them feel bad about their guns—the doctors are on the hook for disciplinary proceedings, possible revocation of their medical license, and administrative fines up to $10,000 per count.

The scuffle over "docs vs. Glocks" seems to have started when a pediatrician in Ocala asked the mother of a young child whether she kept guns in the home. She refused to answer because, as she put it, "whether I have a gun has nothing to do with the health of my child." When the doctor told her to find another pediatrician, the women threatened to call a lawyer. Consider: According to a suit filed this week by the Brady Center, 65 children and teenagers are shot every day in America, and eight of them die; one-third of American homes with children under 18 have a firearms in them; and more than 40 percent of those households store their guns unlocked and a quarter of those homes store them loaded. What was it that mother said again? Oh, right, guns have nothing to do with the health of our children.

Copied from Slate.

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