Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Gun-owning Floridians will now be able to discuss those lethal weapons with their physicians after a federal judge has blocked the enforcement of a Florida law. Florida governor and Tea Party darling, Rick Scott, signed into law a gag order preventing doctors from talking to their patients about the hazards of gun possession in their homes when small children and teenagers are present.
Around 4000 kids are shot each year by guns they find around the house. Rick Scott finds that sad but has no interest in allowing pediatricians the right to explain that fact to their patients and suggest alternatives. The Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians thought they should have that right as citizens.
The Judge agreed with the doctors and issued a preliminary injunction stopping the law in its tracks. “Information regarding firearm ownership is not sacrosanct,” U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke wrote in her ruling. “Federal and state statutes heavily regulate firearm ownership, possession and sale and require firearm owners to provide personal information in certain circumstances.”
Judge Cooke reminded the elected guardians of freedom in Florida that there really is more to the Bill of Rights that just the Second Amendment. “This case concerns one of our Constitution’s most precious rights — the freedom of speech. The law curtails practitioners’ ability to inquire about whether patients own firearms and burdens their ability to deliver a firearm safety message to patients,” she wrote. “The Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act thus implicates practitioners’ First Amendment rights of free speech.” Just as importantly, Cooke said the law “implicates patients’ freedom to receive information about firearms safety, which the First Amendment protects.”
Advocates for victims of gun violence were elated. “We are pleased that the court has blocked the gun lobby’s outrageous and unconstitutional attempt to stop doctors from warning about the severe risks posed by guns in the home,” said Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Center who joined in the suit on the side of the physicians.
From a good government standpoint, one has to wonder about the motivations of the legislators of Florida who thought it appropriate to inject themselves into the private discussions between physician and patient. It’s even more curious that a legislative body in a democracy thought it perfectly acceptable to deny their citizenry the truth about an issue directly affecting their families’ safety.
Cast out of their constitiuents bedrooms by a whole host of SCOTUS opinions those Tea Party busybodies now feel quite entitled to intrude upon the examination room. Apparently, it’s conservative politics that trumps all; a Constitutional provision merely the clothing for the wolf. Judge Cooke saw through the disguise.
Source: Yahoo News
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger