Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Left's war on the Second Amendment

Physicians ask for injunction against ‘Docs v. Glocks’ law

TALLAHASSEE — The physician groups suing to block a new Florida law that bans doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes asked a federal judge in Miami Friday for an injunction to block enforcement of the law.

The law (HB 155) signed by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this month would require that doctors, emergency medical personnel and other health-care providers refrain from asking about gun ownership unless they “in good faith [believe] that this information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” In addition, they could not enter the response into a database.

The bill passed after lobbyists for the NRA and Florida Medical Association cut a deal that removed the original bill’s jail time for doctors and weakened other restrictions. The physician groups said they were asking a judge to temporarily block the law because it had already “curtailed the First Amendment rights of physicians across the state to speak with their patients about gun safety.”

Keep reading for the release:

The Florida chapters of three national medical organizations, along with six physicians, today asked a federal district judge in Miami to immediately block enforcement of the new state law that bars healthcare professionals from asking patients if they own guns and have them stored properly.

These questions are a key element in the practice of preventive medicine. The court papers filed today make clear that a request for a preliminary injunction is necessary because the new law has already curtailed the First Amendment rights of physicians across the state to speak with their patients about gun safety.

Lisa A. Cosgrove, M.D., FAAP, President of the Florida Pediatric Society (Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics) said: “Pediatricians simply want to do what they do best: protect children. We hope that we will be able to get back to the business of asking parents to keep their guns, pools and poisons where they can’t harm kids.”

Dennis Mayeaux, MD, Chair, Board of Directors, Florida Academy of Family Physicians said: “The impact of this law has already caused serious rifts in physician-patient relationships. Casual conversations with patients often bring other medical issues to light, and erosion of these opportunities also erodes the quality of care.”

Stuart Himmelstein, M.D., American College of Physicians Governor for Florida, stated: “Reversing this law is essential in order to preserve the sanctity of the doctor -patient relationship by keeping the government out of the exam room. Reversing this law will preserve free speech between both doctors and patients as protected by the Constitution and which is necessary to obtain the highest of quality care that every citizen deserves.”

Physicians and other healthcare professionals routinely provide their patients with information about a variety of health risks in the home and broader environment. Such preventive counseling has become a cornerstone in the practice of medicine and is recommended by numerous professional medical societies.

In the course of practicing preventive medicine, healthcare professionals routinely ask and counsel patients about firearm safety. The state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Physicians collectively represent more than 11,000 healthcare professionals in Florida. They are joined in the injunction request by six physicians who filed papers with the court showing that the law has substantially curtailed their First Amendment rights to exchange information with patients about gun safety.

The lawsuit challenging the Physician Gag law was filed on June 6, 2011, shortly after Governor Scott signed it into law. Prior to filing suit, the physician groups urged the governor to veto the legislation since it infringes the First Amendment rights of healthcare professionals throughout Florida. The organizations and individual physicians in the lawsuit are represented by Ropes & Gray, Astigarraga Davis, and lawyers from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project.

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