The case popularly referred to as “Docs vs. Glocks” has been officially closed after a federal court rejected a request for rehearing last Tuesday.
An injunction was filed against the Florida law that prohibited doctors from interrogating patients about their firearms. The case was sent to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, who found “the Act is a valid regulation of professional conduct that has only incidental effect on physicians’ free speech.”
But a group of physician lobby organizations represented by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence was unsettled that they could no longer cross-examine patients about how they exercised their Second Amendment. The doctors banded together the Circuit to review the case again.
The courts said, “no,” raising the point that doctors can still question patients about firearms, but only when it is appropriate, thereby safeguarding their First Amendment rights.
“The Act codifies the commonsense conclusion that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care – especially not when that inquiry or record-keeping constitutes such a substantial intrusion upon patient privacy,” wrote Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat.
However, Circuit Judge Charles Wilson disagreed with the majority decision, arguing that the prohibitive law is a breech of free speech.
“This law is not designed to protect Second Amendment rights because doctors have no authority – and have not used their private positions of power – to compel firearms owners to relinquish their weapons,” wrote Wilson. “This law is instead designed to stop a perceived political agenda, and it is difficult to conceive of any law designed for that purpose that could withstand Frist Amendment scrutiny.”
Marion Hammer, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past president of the National Rifle Association, summed it up nicely by noting that we go to the doctor’s office for medical treatment, not to be interrogated about guns.
“We take our children to pediatricians for medical care, not moral judgment, or privacy intrusions – we got to address medical needs, not to be interrogated about gun ownership,” Hammer told Guns.com. “The legislation is about helping families who are complaining about being questioned about gun ownership and the growing anti-gun political agenda being carried out in examination rooms by doctors and medical staffs.”
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)