Anti-gun doctors sue in Florida

Doctors in Florida who are more concerned with pushing a radical anti-gun agenda than they are with practicing pediatric medicine, have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn that state’s recently-passed law prohibiting them from probing into a patient’s personal ownership of firearms. The legal action is – of course – being coordinated by the country’s most notorious anti-firearm organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Florida legislature passed the law this past April, after repeated stories surfaced of doctors dropping patients simply because they refused to be interrogated about whether they owned any firearms in their homes.

The law protects firearms owners in other ways. For example, it also prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage for or dropping policies on policy holders who own firearms.

If a doctor violates the law, they would be subject to discipline by the Florida Board of Medicine, including possible loss of their medical license. However, lawmakers did carve out exemptions to protect doctors and paramedics in the event that inquiries about firearms would be “relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”

The true agenda of those bringing this lawsuit is revealed in statements by the liberal American Academy of Pediatrics, which had suggested the legislative solution as a way to prevent children from being harmed by guns was to “get guns out of their homes, their neighborhoods and where they play.”

During a recent hearing on the lawsuit, the Associated Press noted that Judge Marcia Cooke expressed some degree of skepticism at the doctors’ claims that the law reached too far. Cooke asked, “What’s relevant about asking about my gun when I came in with a cold?” She also wondered if the “questionnaire [that doctors give to patients] is overbroad and not the statute.”

Hopefully, Judge Cooke’s initial skepticism will result in a decision striking down this lawsuit which clearly is rooted in a political, anti-firearm agenda. The Brady Center, of course, will continue its battle against the freedom embodied in the Second Amendment, and would certainly appeal such a decision. Hopefully, however, a decision throwing out the lawsuit will remind the vast majority of pediatricians in Florida that the Hippocratic Oath they each took when they were first licensed as physicians, committed them to heal patients, not force a political agenda down their throats.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

101 comments Add your comment

Get It Right

July 22nd, 2011
1:02 pm

The doctors in FL weren’t just asking if their patients owned guns, they were dropping the ones who did not follow their political philosophy. This is different than doctors asking and patients chosing whether or not to answer. Should my doctor every ask me that type of question, I would reply that every article within my home was legally purchased and properly used. If that was not acceptable to the doctor, I would fire him as my physician.

USMC2841

July 22nd, 2011
1:03 pm

Stop hiding behind “It’s for the children”. This is a political ploy to lead society to think children are not safe in a house with a gun. Ask Meredith Emerson or Cheryl Hodges Dunlap if they would have liked to have had a gun. A child in the home of a responsible gun owner is far safer than one in a home with no gun. These are the same liberals who think children should put their health at risk with an abortion without notifying the parents. How many home robberies or murders get reported out of Kennesaw? How many times do they ask a child if their parents drive drunk? How many times do they ask if they have a pool at home? A political ploy…call it what it is.

Ted Striker

July 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

Doctors asking questions about whether or not someone owns a gun needs to get out of the profession.

Atlanta Native

July 22nd, 2011
1:06 pm

@mark — good for you, and tell your doctor that. We’re talking about children….not adults…

Willie Spanker

July 22nd, 2011
1:07 pm

“My bedroom my business” is only applicable to gay pride parades.

David

July 22nd, 2011
1:07 pm

If doctors are so concerned about the care of our children and the impact of the home environment, shouldn’t they be asking the parent whether or not they’re married to the child’s father? After all, children in single-parent households have a higher mortality rate than those from two-parent households.

Of course, the reality is that doctors don’t have a *right* to question me on gun ownership or my family situation. It’s not relevant to their job. Their job is my *health*, not my *safety*.

And asking me about guns (and subsequently refusing to do business with me because of a refusal to answer) isn’t a free speech issue. And were it a free speech issue, wouldn’t my refusal also be an exercise of free speech?

This is further evidence that a certain portion of the population is all-too-willing to cede responsibility over their lives to the nanny state. Is anyone dumb enough to own a gun but not handle it safely going to listen to the opinion of his doctor?

Mark

July 22nd, 2011
1:12 pm

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”

Don’t you mean “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people”?

Cramer

July 22nd, 2011
1:14 pm

Why the switch from “keep the government out of the exam room” to this drivel? What business does the government have limiting what a doctor can discuss with a patient? I seem to recall an amendment that comes just before the 2nd one………

Tranny Crapzilla

July 22nd, 2011
1:16 pm

” I also think far too many people are murdered every year in the US”

More people are killed by cars, heat stroke and cancer than guns.

Tranny Crapzilla

July 22nd, 2011
1:17 pm

Black people kill more people in this country than any other race.

Just a fact.

Darwin

July 22nd, 2011
1:23 pm

Bob – Anyone who disagrees with you is a radical.

To anyone who wants to know.

July 22nd, 2011
1:29 pm

If anyone from Jay Bookmans blog wants to know who the left wingers are that blog on his website, just go to his Facebook page and read through the comments.

Father Murphy

July 22nd, 2011
1:37 pm

Abort the NRA

TallaDawg

July 22nd, 2011
1:39 pm

God the ignorance and paranoia on this board.

A doctor should be allowed to ask any question that he or she feels has a bearing on a patient’s health, including drugs, athletic hobbies or guns. Most doctors are not raging liberals (quite to the contrary). However, most realize that many people, especially children have been hurt or killed by “unloaded” guns, and gun safety is important. I own guns, have hunted all of my life and do not plan to stop. I also do not have any problem discussing my ownership AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS with any doctor. If it bothers you, see another doctor. Isn’t that what the free market is all about?

Jefferson

July 22nd, 2011
1:41 pm

Fear drives hand gun owners, sport drives shotgun owners. A shotgun will protect your family if needed. Sleep well hand gun owners.

A dad

July 22nd, 2011
1:47 pm

I’ll bet national statistics show a lot more people die annual from being too freaking fat (or a obesity-related health condition) than guns, so why aren’t theswe doctors crusading to shut down MckieD’s, etc?
How have things changed? When I was in high school back in the 70’s, me and my friends would go hunting after shcool (we were n a very rural area). We kept our shotguns in the trunks of our cars (unloaded of course) and none of use, even for a microsecond, every thought about shotting someone else (pheasants and rabits, now that was a different matter). Whether liberal or conservative, it is not the gun that’s the problem. It’s the person weilding it, and the attitude, most likely a result of all the Hollywood movies, rap culture, etc. glorfying violence and shooting people. By the time the average kid turns 18 he/she has seen something like 1,000’s of shotting in movies, on TV, video games, etc. What do we expect.
BTW, I have a pistaol, shotgun and 2 rifles in my house, and just like my father did when I was a kid, when my daughters are old enough they will be taught how to safely handle them, proper safety, etc. And also how to load, point and shoot in case anyone breaks in and I’m not there to drop them. But despite fact I am a responsible firearm owner, for many that’s not enough. You don’t want me to have guns period. One question I’ve never gotten an intelligible answer to is does the anti-gun crowd really thinkif guns are outlawed that gun-related violence will magically 100% disappear? The U.S. is not the only country which manufactures guns, and criminals (not talking about straw purchases) don’t tend to buy guns ar Dick’s or Target, if you catch my drift. Focus on the real problem, which isn’t gun ownership. Sheesh!

Bryan

July 22nd, 2011
1:49 pm

Bob, are you really a libertarian? Really? Or are you just someone who chooses a raft of issues that you like, and then hides behind libertarianism when it suits you?

Ok, here we have the free market. In that free market, a patient may choose his or her doctor. If a doctor has different beliefs about how to practice medicine than the patient likes, the patient may choose another doctor. If the doctor doesn’t like serving the patient, he or she may “drop” the patient, so that the patient may find another doctor. Patients are never in any danger, and there is no legitimate state interest.

But, as it happens, doctors tend to be concerned about significant health risks — guns, pools, obesity, etc. People here are talking about conspiracies to harm guns and all sorts of other nonsense — but it’s actually just the free market talking. Doctors, seeing a risk, are addressing it because it’s their job.

(And n.b. — why wouldn’t a gun owner want to talk about gun safety? I’m a gun owner, and if you ask me about the guns I have, I’ll tell you absolutely everything about how I keep them safe. Gun safety is something I’m proud of — because I’m not a bleeping idiot, and don’t want to accidentally blow my foot off. But even mentioning it in a doctor’s visit is enough to make people angry enough to pass a law? What nuts.)

What would a libertarian say about the operation of the free market? Regulate? Fix the “problem” by passing a law? Get in between the doctor and the patient to make sure the state manages the relationship? That’s what you’re saying — and it’s nonsense. This is a free market issue, and the free market should decide — we shouldn’t be going around telling doctors what they can and cannot talk to their patients about. Rather than the state interfering to push some pet issue, we should rely on the market.

In fact, I can think of nothing LESS libertarian than taking the stance that the state should play a role in the relationship between doctor and patient when no safety risk is at stake. Regulating doctors to keep patients safe? Ok, we have to do that. But regulate doctors to keep them from somehow annoying some small but vocal minority? Get involved in the doctor-patient relationship to help push some conservative pet issue? No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. That is the polar opposite of libertarian.

If you did more than pretend to care about freedom, this would anger you to no end. THIS is the state intrusion you should rail against. THIS is the sort of state overreach that should tick you off. If it doesn’t, then don’t ever — EVER — come back to me again with that “libertarian” nonsense. You’re not one.

Gary

July 22nd, 2011
1:56 pm

Why don’t they ask them if they use or sell drugs, do they have unsafe sex?

RGB

July 22nd, 2011
2:07 pm

Fear drives hand gun owners, sport drives shotgun owners. A shotgun will protect your family if needed.

I hope that you own neither a shotgun nor a handgun because that is a stupid comment.

Ever want to protect your family while in a vehicle? “Wait a minute Mr. Perpetrator, let me get my 870 out of the trunk”.

How about protecting yourself on Atlanta streets. Police officer: “Sir, why are you wearing an overcoat in 95 degree heat?” Citizen: “Umm, can I get back to you on that.”

How ’bout this one: “Idiocy drives people who think handgun owners are driven by fear.”

RGB

July 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

“why wouldn’t a gun owner want to talk about gun safety [to a physician]?”

ANSWER: Because they, in concert with the overreaching government, will work to put your name on a list, report it to the government, and deny certain people such as veterans benefits.

Do you think doctors of this kind don’t chart everything you tell them? Do you not understand that in the era of electronic medical records this information will be digitized and made available to insurance companies, hackers, the government, etc. Might as well post a sign in your front yard listing the make and model of weapon you own. While you’re at it, make some collateral materials similar to those real estate brochures attached to “For Sale” signs identifying the location of the weapons. Nobody will misuse it. I promise.

Are you really that naive?

Scott

July 22nd, 2011
2:13 pm

Gun ownership has nothing to do with a child’s health and a Dr has no business asking about it unless maybe he is treating the child for a gunshot wound.That would be the only valid reason for asking about gun ownership. Period!

DC

July 22nd, 2011
2:16 pm

To clarify my initial post, I was responding to this part of Bob’s column in particular: “[R]epeated stories surfaced of doctors dropping patients simply because they refused to be interrogated about whether they owned any firearms in their homes.”

Treating that as a true statement, and not hyperbole….

If a doctor wants to be anti-gun, I have no problem with that. He can have anti-gun or gun safety literature in the waiting room if he wants. If a pediatrician wants to give advice about home safety (put child locks on the kitchen cabinets, plugs in unused electrical outlets, and keep all drugs, knives and guns locked away) that’s a good thing too.

If a patient exhibits what in the doctor’s opinion is risky behavior (anything from guns to overeating), he can advice against it. But you don’t drop patients simply because they happen to be gun owners, or don’t want to talk about it.

I am not a gun owner. I did not say I say I was anti-gun. I’ve found out the hard way you don’t want to fire a reproduction 1851 Enfield left-handed (you get powder burns on your right forearm). :)

And I stand corrected on Canadian statistics. The demographics of Canada are changing very rapidly, by the way, with a huge influx of immigrants.

Bryan

July 22nd, 2011
2:33 pm

@RGB: “Are you really that naive?”

No, I’m aware of the vast conspiracy begun by the New World Order to implant microchips in our brain. So you can stop telling me about it.

Dr. Pangloss

July 22nd, 2011
2:37 pm

Tom B
July 22nd, 2011
12:27 pm

Dr. Pangloss “The doctors are suing because the Florida legislature passed a blatantly unconstitutional law abridging the doctor’s right to discuss household hazards with his/her patients.”

That’s quite a stretch, Pangloss. My children, my wife, nor my self have never been asked about stairs, drain cleaner, pools, dogs, matches, etc. Any number of things that can kill a child.
—————
Then switch to a competent pediatrician who normally will ask about health and safety hazards in the home.

Jefferson

July 22nd, 2011
3:24 pm

RGB, it sounds like you have fear of Atlanta. Get a handgun, maybe insurance too just in case you miss.

MrLiberty

July 22nd, 2011
10:35 pm

Bryan – Please tell me what part of the medical system constitutes a FREE MARKET?

Is it the AMA restrictions on medical school class sizes (guaranteed shortages and higher fees)? The AMA limits on residencies? The state restrictions on who can practice medicine (rather than a free market system of certifications, etc.)? The state and local restrictions on hospital operations, expansions, and competition? The tax code restrictions on deductibility of medical and insurance costs that actually promote the use of 3rd party insurance? The DEA restrictions on certain “drugs” and the threats and persecutions of doctors prescribing “too many” pain killers to terminally ill patients? The FDA restrictions on publication of information about vitamins, homeopathy, herbal products, accupuncture, holistic medicine and alternative therapies – despite peer-reviewed scientific studies)? The state restrictions on what medical procedures can be performed by whom (bans on midwife deliveries of children, etc.)? The influence in the marketplace of government (stolen from taxpayers of course) monies that make up 50% of all healthcare spending and drive prices through the roof? The manipulation of the money supply, interest rates, and value of the currency by the Federal Reserve? I could go on for hours.

Bottom line – THERE IS NO FREE MARKET IN MEDICINE.

I certainly doubt that you are old enough to have seen a time in this country when we had close to one. Nearly nobody is alive who has.

Until we have freedom restored and we all have REAL choices in medical care, this kind of blatant discrimination and insulting behavior is unacceptable. I will be the first to stand up for the freedom of doctors to do whatever they want without harming or defrauding anyone, but we all should have the freedom to go to whomever we please and receive whatever medical care we wish as a counter to their freedom. We do not have that currently.

And don’t expect to see any movement towards freedom from the democrats or republicans. Nearly all of them have been bought off by BigPharma (think Medicare D from the Bush years), the insurance industry, the hospital associations, the AMA, and others.

Thankfully there is a doctor running for president who has been fighting for medical freedom his entire career in congress – Ron Paul.

If you don’t understand what the Free Market looks like, please do not use the term casually or incorrectly. You do yourself and the free market a disservice.

MrLiberty

July 22nd, 2011
10:43 pm

And just for clarification, a Free Market does not mean no liability, responsibility, culpability, or criminal responsibility. Doing harm to another, committing fraud, and the like still have consequences (as opposed to now where doctors are protected by state medical boards – another government created monopoly). Independent certification agencies that competed for business, stood behind their certification, etc. would do a far better job than the current incestuous state-run monopolies. People would have the freedom to choose, doctors from other countries would not be barred entry into the “system” and forced to work as cab drivers, etc.

Bottom line is that the free market would deliver a far better quality of diverse care at a FAR lower price than the current system but fear of the unknown and brainwashing propoganda by supporters of the status quo will prevent it from ever being restored – much to our loss – unless people speak out and vote for candidates that advocate REAL freedom, not just the media-packaged freedom lite that we are all supposed to swallow and be content with.

Carlosgvv

July 23rd, 2011
7:57 am

The “right to keep and bear arms” clause was written when we had no professional standing military and had to rely on citizens. Thousands and thousands of Americans are killed every year by guns. A sensible person would demand our lawmakers allow guns only to the police and military. Unfortunately, too many gun crazy Americans, led by the money crazed NRA, insist on having guns at any price, including innocent human lives.

Common Sense

July 23rd, 2011
8:10 am

Guns Save Lives.

Scott

July 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

Carlosgvv

July 23rd, 2011
7:57 am

Do you have your Brown Shirt on today? Or maybe SS insignias on your shirt collar?

Carlosgvv

July 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

Scott

I want to stop seeing thousands and thousands of men, women and children dying from guns every year. And that makes me a Nazi? What have you been smoking?

Dr. Pangloss

July 23rd, 2011
10:38 am

Scott, your remark to Carlosgvv makes no sense whatever. Was Albert Schweitzer a Nazi? Was Bertrand Russell?

Scott

July 23rd, 2011
12:06 pm

Carlos&Pangloss

Disarming law abiding citizens is a serious loss of freedom.Nuf said……..

Carlosgvv

July 23rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Scott

Why don’t you explain how only the police and military having guns amounts to “a serious loss of freedom”. Or, are you one of the nuts who thinks if you have a gun, you can stand off our “Nazi” military?

Dr. Pangloss

July 23rd, 2011
2:14 pm

Apparently, gun worshipers like Scott have only one response to all stimuli. If anybody says anything about using a little sense in dealing with lethal weapons that kill 30,000 Americans per year and injure about 70,000 more, they immediately think that the evil guvmint is going to take away their precious phallic symbols and ship them off to the death camps. How can people live that way?

There’s no such thing as the boogerman, Scott.

Partisay

July 23rd, 2011
2:27 pm

All this shows is one thing – how strong the gun lobby is in the state of Florida. When I first heard last week that the state of Fla had passed a law that doctors could not discuss gun ownership with their patients, i thought there is no possible way that can happen. Just too stupid.

I guess this shows one more thing. Conservatives love to wrap themselves in the constitution and cry about how liberals take their freedom away. They love to whine about getting government off their back. But they want to tell a doctor that when a parent brings their child in for a visit, they can’t discuss with them gun safety with the list of other dangers around the house?

And I am VERY surprised at you Mr. Barr.

Dr. Pangloss

July 23rd, 2011
3:41 pm

A decent governor would have vetoed this bill, but Florida has Rick Scott, the man behind the biggest Medicare fraud in history. If you make Lex Luthor your governor, what does that say?

[...] To read more, visit:  http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2011/07/22/anti-gun-doctors-sue-in-florida/ [...]

Scott

July 24th, 2011
7:36 am

Carlos & Pangloss

If you guys are so afraid of citizens with guns y’all need to move to a Communist country.
I’m sure Delta is ready when you are.

Carlosgvv

July 24th, 2011
8:02 am

Scott

If I don’t like America allowing fools to have guns, I will stay here and try to change things. Unlike you, I do not have a “cut and run” personality.

stephen

July 24th, 2011
9:48 am

The irony is startling with this. Some doctors think it’s not the government’s interest to sanction what they discuss with their patients – period. And you would think Bob Barr would be vociferous in defending that independence. However this time doctors are messin’ with the Right’s Sacred Cow – the NRA.
You took the predictable side, Barr.

Dr. Pangloss

July 24th, 2011
11:15 am

There’s always some jerk who thinks he gets to decide who can live in America.

saywhat?

July 24th, 2011
11:49 am

To all those posters who wrote some form of the question “then why don’t doctors ask about food, cars etc.”.

THEY DO! A good pediatrician WILL ask if your child rides in a car seat, whether you know how to install it properly, what kind of of food your child is eating, if your child has unsafe access to a pool, or if there is an unsecured gun in the house.
This does not mean doctors are plotting to shut down the interstate highway system and ban cars, close all fast food places and force feed people vegetables, fill in all pools and ban swimming, and confiscate all guns and ban gun ownership.They are seeking to identify potential risks to health and then to address those risks through education.

A substantial part of any healthcare provider’s job is to educate patients. Its too bad that those most in need of education are those who will do the most to protect and preserve their willfull ignorance.

Scott

July 24th, 2011
12:28 pm

Carlos & Pangloss

I’m glad to know I’m getting to y’all.What with all the personality attacks and name calling. LMAO!!

Dr. Pangloss

July 24th, 2011
12:35 pm

Scott, it’s the conservatives who do the name-calling. That’s easy to check if your browser has a FIND function. Pointing out that you’re acting like a jerk is not name-calling because it’s stating an obvious fact.

Bryan

July 24th, 2011
12:57 pm

@”Mr. Liberty:” That’s an interesting (if somewhat unhinged) argument…but an argument for less regulation, not more.

It’s wrong, of course — although you identify small problems, you wouldn’t like what you want to call a “free market.” A free market is not the wild west — we do need to pull back on our over-regulation, but you’d simply blow the whole thing up. (For example, the FDA requiring drug approvals before drugs may be marketed is a good thing. If you were “old enough” to remember what life was like before that, you’d know.) And that’s anarchism, not libertarianism. So your premise is wrong.

But even if it weren’t…great. Yes, let’s have less regulation. But this is the opposite — this is more regulation. So…what were you saying? That we’re all assigned a doctor by our communist state? If so, you need to stop watching so many 60’s-era serials — you can choose your doctor.

Or is it that because we already have a lot of regulation, let’s go nuts and add more? That since we’ve already got a lot of regulation, what’s one more? Well, I guess that’s one way to look at it…

Maleesha

July 24th, 2011
1:33 pm

The Kumbaya crowd who say they don’t own a gun and “wouldn’t have one in the house” apparently think the police will protect them.

They need to contemplate the police response time in the recent Norway mass murder incident. In case they missed it – it took the cops 90 MINUTES to get there, giving the shooter plenty of time to kill 80+ (unarmed) people.

If you are unwilling to defend yourself, or at least defend your loved ones, you are the weakest kind of gelding sheep.

Dr. Pangloss

July 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

Maleesha, that shooting took place at a camp on an island. The police had to procure a helicopter and then a boat to get there. Nobody said that all the police units in the world had every conceivable contingency covered. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for people to have unsecured guns in a home with children. It also doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea for everybody with a pulse to be allowed to run around with a handgun–as is the case in many states today, i.e., Georgia, Mississippi, Arizona, Utah …

If you’re snakebit in the desert, you may not get to a doctor in time either. Sometimes you just have to balance out the risks and take your chances.

Scott

July 24th, 2011
8:48 pm

Dr. Pangloss

July 24th, 2011
12:35 pm

I’m just trying to help you with your mental malfuction doc.Maybe you should find professional help.

onpatroll

July 24th, 2011
10:31 pm

Hi, my name is Bob Barr. I hate the nanny state when they go after girls selling lemonade but I love the nanny state when they go after doctors’ questionnaires. I am sooo torn.