Just last week a federal appeals court cleared the way for Florida doctors to talk to their patients about gun safety. What the what, you say; before the appeal doctors couldn’t discuss gun safety? Why is that?
Well, three little letters: NRA. And three more: GOP.
In its 10-to-1 ruling, the full panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that doctors could not be threatened with losing their licenses—or being fined—simply because they asked their patients if they owned guns and for discussing gun safety:
“Florida does not have carte blanche to restrict the speech of doctors and medical professionals on a certain subject without satisfying the demands of heightened scrutiny.”
In its lawsuit, the medical community—in a case dubbed Docs v Glocks—argued that questions about gun storage and gun safety were crucial to public health because of the relationship between firearms and both the suicide rate and the gun-related deaths of children.
It all began in 2011 when the GOP-controlled Florida legislature, with the support of the GOP-controlled Florida governor, Rick Scott, passed restrictions—aimed mostly at pediatricians—stating that doctors could lose their licenses or risk large fines for simply asking patients or their families about gun ownership and gun habits. The GOP-controlled legislature, bought and paid for by the NRA of course, wanted us to believe that they were concerned after hearing some people say they felt pressured to answer questions about gun ownership.
The question isn’t about owning guns; it’s about responsible handling and storage of guns to protect their children, but, apparently, for some of these wingnuts, questions about guns are more bothersome than a doctor just making sure your children are safe.
The Florida law was the first in the country to try to restrict the First Amendment rights of doctors to discuss gun safety and storage with patients and, now, this new court ruling will most likely make it more difficult for other states to pass a similar, ridiculous, measure.
And, naturally, National Rifle Association [NRA] is not happy; they also felt that the medical community’s gun-related questions were discriminatory and also a form of harassment, because the NRA has never seen a gun they didn’t want sold in America and a gun-owner they didn’t want armed to the teeth, even when those gun-owners shouldn’t have guns, say, because of a criminal history or a history of mental illness.
Luckily, then, that the Court of Appeals decided that the law does not violate the Second Amendment, and found that this line of questioning by healthcare experts constituted harm.
Seriously, this is the GOP and the NRA, thinking that a doctor, a pediatrician, asking if you owned guns, if you stored them away from your children, so that perhaps Little Johnny or Little Sally didn’t one day find the weapon and blow their heads off, or the heads of anyone else in the family, is discriminatory.
That’s the United Sates of Guns for the GOP and the NRA but, thankfully, cooler, more rational, less gun-toting heads prevailed.
This time ...