Appeals Panel Upholds FL Law Restricting What Doctors Can Say About Guns


A Florida law restricting what doctors can tell patients about gun ownership was ruled constitutional Friday by a federal appeals court, which said it legitimately regulates professional conduct and doesn’t violate the doctors’ First Amendment free speech rights, the Associated Press reports. The ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned a decision that declared the law unconstitutional. An injunction blocking enforcement of the law is still in effect. The 2011 law, popularly known as “Docs vs. Glocks,” was challenged by organizations representing 11,000 state health providers.

Doctors who break the law could potentially be fined and lose their licenses. Ruling 2-1, an appeals panel upheld the law as a protection of patient privacy rights and said that the limits imposed by it were “incidental.” “The act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care,” said Judge Gerald Tjoflat. Dissenting, Judge Charles Wilson said the law “prohibits or significantly chills doctors from expressing their views and providing information to patients about one topic, and one topic only, firearms.”

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