Judge blocks law limiting doc's gun talk

Sept. 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM
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MIAMI, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the state would appeal a federal judge's ruling that blocked a law restricting what doctors can say to their patients about guns.

"The privacy of firearm owners' legislation was carefully crafted to respect the First Amendment. We plan to appeal the judge's block, and we're confident we'll win the appeal," Scott's office said in a written statement, The Miami Herald reported.

Scott signed the "Firearm Owners' Privacy Act into law June 2.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke said the law violated doctors First Amendment right to ask about firearms.

"The state has attempted to inveigle this court to cast this matter as a Second Amendment case," Cooke wrote. "Despite the state's insistence that the right to 'keep arms' is the primary constitutional right at issue in this litigation, a plain reading of the statute reveals that this law in no way affects such rights."

The Florida law did not forbid doctors to ask about guns but stipulated they should not ask about firearms ownership unless they had a compelling medical reason to do so, the Herald said.

Pediatricians worried about complaints to the Department of Health if they asked about guns protested the measure, then sued to block it.

"Physicians concerned that a patient may interpret unsolicited counseling as 'unnecessarily harassing' have stopped or curtailed their practice of counseling patients on firearm safety," Cooke wrote in her ruling.

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