FLORIDA: Court Strikes Down NRA-Backed Law Banning Doctors From Discussing Gun Safety With Patients

The New York Times reports:

A federal appeals court cleared the way on Thursday for Florida doctors to talk to their patients about gun safety, overturning a 2011 law that pitted medical providers against the state’s powerful gun lobby. In its 10-to-1 ruling, the full panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit concluded that doctors could not be threatened with losing their license for asking patients if they owned guns and for discussing gun safety because to do so would violate their free speech.

“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,” the majority wrote in its decision. In its lawsuit, the medical community argued that questions about gun storage were crucial to public health because of the relationship between firearms and both the suicide rate and the gun-related deaths of children. A number of doctors and medical organizations sued Florida in a case that came to be known as Docs v. Glocks, after the popular handgun.

  • bkmn

    They really don’t get the concept of free speech.

    • Boreal

      Free speech for me but not for thee.

      • FAEN

        That’s exactly how they think.

    • Cipher

      Violation of free speech and invasion of the doctor-patient relationship. Brought to you by the NRA and its well-bribed politicians who are opposed to “Big Government”…

    • Kenster999

      “2nd Amendment… huzzah! 1st Amendment… meh!”

      • (((GC)))

        Reposting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LORVfnFtcH0

        The Constitution can still be amended. Amendments themselves can be repealed. We used to have this thing called Prohibition. We also used to have this thing called slavery.

        (Though I’d wait to push for any amendments until we have sane majorities in Congress and in enough state houses!!!)

        • Todd20036

          How much you want to bet there are Nazis pushing for the repeal of the amendment that gives blacks civil rights?

          • (((GC)))


          • Daveed_WOW

            They’ve articulated exactly that.

  • AW

    I wish more people would realize that the NRA isn’t for guns… it’s for gun manufacturers. If the NRA cared about guns they would do everything to teach the responsible use of guns rather than saying everyone should have one regardless of anything.

  • Rex

    Hopefully the docs are also discussing birth control with the gun owners.

    • Mike_in_the_Tundra

      I found a perfect method of birth control.

      • JT

        Extra fun every time you use it.

      • Whoopie gave us the premier definition of birth control years ago…
        “Some dude talkin’ ’bout STOP ABORTION, STOP ABORTION! I said to him, “you wanna stop abortion? SHOOT YOUR DICK!”

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    • JT

      Or pushing guns for their toddlers. 2nd Amendment rights!

    • bkmn

      Or encouraging the gun nuts to keep their pistols in their pants so the gun barrel stays warm….or something like that.

      • JT

        “Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”

        • Blackfork

          “Ts that a glock pointing out of your hole or did you just get a package from Ft. Troff?”

      • bambinoitaliano

        Their assholes make good holsters. Good game of Russian roulette every time they sit down.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    This is why I ended my NRA membership even though it cost me all of my instructor credentials that took me years of hard work and lots of money to obtain. The NRA does not represent gun owners.

    • Ninja0980

      They did at one point but now they are all about the gun companies.

      • Joe in PA

        More money in that. Sigh.

    • Michael White

      I sorry you lost so much but certainly applaud your moral courage and convictions.

    • MB

      A very good friend of mine here in Albuquerque and a Concealed Carry instructor is going to customize a 9mm Glock for me this summer.

      His great advice: “Now that you’re a CC gun owner, you can NEVER get angry. “

      • Tomcat

        Where is that city? ALBUQUERQUE.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        That is very very true! He gave you very accurate advice.

      • This is one reason I will never carry a gun. Still working out my anger issues.

    • RoverSerton

      I resigned because of the non stop crap from the NRA-ILA in the mail every damned day.

    • NancyP

      The MO Department of Conservation represents gun owners better – they give free classes on gun safety for novices including youth wanting to start hunting, on hunting safety, not to mention advanced topics like how to render your deer or duck or turkey. Hunting and fishing are popular hobbies in MO.

    • JCF

      My dad has been shooting guns for about *80* years (there’s still about a half dozen long guns in his cabinet). AFAIK, he has NEVER been a member of the NRA.

  • JT

    cleared the way on Thursday for Florida doctors to talk to their patients about gun safety, overturning a 2011 law

    WTF is wrong with FL?

    • Boreal

      A lot. I have many friends who have moved there and although the climate is better than where I live I cannot imagine moving there.

      • yeah. i was glad when my family sold the condo down there. so many more safe, not insane warm places to vacation.

      • Todd20036

        The weather is great, and there are some serious gay communities in Ft Lauderdale and the Keys, but until Florida grows up, the only reason I’ll ever go there is to visit my mother.
        Once she dies, that’s pretty much it for me there.

        • BobSF_94117

          The weather is not “great”. If it were, it wouldn’t have taken the development of large-scale air conditioning to make it habitable.


    • There is a reason why fark.com has an entire section called “News from Florida”.

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    But let’s not forget the states that passed laws requiring doctors to read medically false statements to patients seeking abortions. If the doctors can’t speak the truth or their own words, aren’t their free speech rights being abridged?

    • greenmanTN

      And let’s not forget the transvaginal ultrasounds, aka the Shame Stick.

      • Steverino

        Also known as high-tech rape.

  • greenmanTN
  • Octoberfurst

    The NRA claims they promote gun safety but that it total bullshit. They push for laws to let the mentally ill have guns, they push for laws that let terrorists not have to go through a background check when they buy a weapon at a gun show, they push for laws that let people carry guns any place any time and they don’t want doctors discussing gun safety with their patients. Yeah they care about gun safety—NOT! They just cater to the gun manufacturers. The more guns on the street the better!

  • 2patricius2

    Well of course they were right in ruling this way. Doctors are concerned about the safety of their patients and their patients’ families. Guns in the household of deeply depressed or unstable people are dangerous. I was required to ask clients about guns in the household when I was a clinical social worker. It was common sense and good, ethical practice.

    • Tawreos

      This being common sense and a good ethical practice is precisely why the NRA opposes it

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      Not in Florida, I take it.

  • Steverino

    Imagine if McDonalds had the same political power as the NRA to attempt to silence physicians, dietitians and nutritionists.

    • Google “Food libel laws”
      or “Beef industry sues Oprah”
      or “Monsanto growth hormone in milk censorship”

      On second thought, don’t. You might lose the will to eat.

      • Tomcat

        The fruit industry have that power in Florida.
        Say something bad about Florida fruit and the state WILL sue you.

      • (((GC)))

        Speaking of growth hormones and milk, and this sort of corporate regulatory capture, the FDA requires companies that advertise that their milk isn’t from cows given rBGH to also say on the package that “no significant difference has been shown” between milk from treated and untreated cows.

        It’s common practice far beyond the food industry for lobbyists (hello, ALEC!) to present busy legislators 🙂 with model bills that they’ll sometimes introduce without even reading them!

        All par for the course in our unelected corporate government.

  • Ninja0980

    The NRA is nothing more then a tool for the gun lobby and the idea they should have any say in what doctors can say to their patients is absurd.

  • The fact that such a law ever existed — and that one federal appeals court judge actually thought it was perfectly fine — is just insane.

    • ETownCanuck

      Exactly, why is it that the U.S. seems to possess everything except for common sense?

  • Lars Littlefield

    It’s difficult to understand the stupidity of the NRA that they would whine and complain about physicians discussing fire arms with their patients. What the fuck is wrong with them?

    • Tor

      There may be a larger conservative strategy here. This might have been a test case.
      If the state can limit physicians from talking with patients about gun safety, what’s to stop it from prohibiting other topics, like, say, abortion, contraceptives, sexuality?

    • Tomcat

      Don’t you know, Obama is trying to take their guns.

    • Friday

      I’m pretty sure that a lot of the right wing have some idea they at least don’t *seem* to be firing on all cylinders, therefore are paranoid that anyone who knows they have a gun will want to ‘take it away.’

  • The world would be a better place if Wayne LaPierre shoved a .45 into that gaping maw of his and pulled the trigger.

    • Michael White

      Though I usually do not support violence of any kind when I read about a “responsible” gun owner shooting himself while cleaning, or showing it off, or what ever, I am glad when a gene pool is dried up and do not feel a bit of sympathy for their loss. Oh wait, I can send prayers and thoughts to them/sn

      • NancyP

        Sometimes the family claims that the gun owner had an accident, in order to avoid the stigma of suicide. The gun owner may well have been technically competent/skilled at gun use and suicidal.

    • billbear1961

      He may meet up with a severely mentally ill man or woman who can now purchase a firearm, thanks to his successful VILE efforts to get Congress to revoke a law making it illegal for them to possess one.

      What a pity should that happen!

      • Acronym Jim

        I’m pretty sure he will get an invitation to the White House eventually.

        • billbear1961


  • Steverino

    Stephen Miller’s mentor being slapped down.

  • MB

    Such a slippery-slope.
    Next thing ya’ know these so-called Doctors will be counseling mentally ill patients…



  • billbear1961
  • Ben in Oakland

    I would love ot know the logic of the one dissenting vote, but I’m afraid of listening to yet another orange shitgibbon.

    • Ninja0980

      The dissenting judge was Judge Gerald Tjoflat, a judge from the Ford era and the oldest service Circuit court judge.

  • a tiny ray of light. good for the courts. now, get going on drumpf’s stuff.

  • Tomcat

    Can’t understand gunnuts, not allowing doctors to tell parents that they should keep their guns safely away from their children. Would they also complain if the doctor were to tell parents to keep medicines safely away from their children?

  • HZ81

    The fact that it passed in the first place… good God. How is restricting doctors from discussing gun safety with patients not the “ZOMG, intruding government” the GOP always cry about but obviously forcefully approve of?

    Answer: Republicans are assholes—and they are the enemy. The. Enemy.

  • Friday

    Honestly it shouldn’t be *on* doctors to be teaching gun safety, (Remember when that was the NRA’s main public mission?) but it’s a damn pertinent question to ask if someone’s having a hard time mentally or might be contemplating harm to self or others… or afraid of someone else in the house for that matter.)

    One of the problems with trying to declare the things as a ‘public health hazard’ so broadly though is that it a) Sounds silly and a stretch, and b) Sounds way too abstract: you could say for instance, car *exhaust* or something is a ‘public health hazard,’ …but this is like saying *cars* are a ‘public health hazard’ because people obviously get hit by them and crashes hurt and kill people. It’s one thing to talk about the ‘dangers of car accidents’ …it’s another to start saying ‘Let’s blame cars in the abstract.’

    • AJ Drew

      Well, except for the intended purpose of the item being called a “public health hazard.” In your example, cars have many useful primary purposes. A gun has one purpose, and that purpose is intended to be a health hazard.

      • Friday

        I’m saying it’s connecting the fact that a car is obviously a car and a gun is actually a gun to ….say, something that might make you sick without you knowing it. It’s the wrong approach, I think.

  • bambinoitaliano
    • William

      Wayne should have stuck with acting.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Florida. Doctors can’t mention gun safety. Government workers can’t mention climate change. Glad I left in 1970.

    Edit: And I don’t miss the sandspurs, mosquitoes, sand fleas, fire ants, no seeums, blistering sun, mold-inducing humidity and Alabama red neck scam artists.

    • NancyP

      not to mention cockroaches larger than some rats

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        I knew I left out something! And they fly!

  • Lazycrockett

    Says a helluva lot bout gun owners if they need a doctor to tell them that loaded guns just laying around the house could be dangerous.

  • Blackfork

    And, now, if a doctor wants to discuss gun ownership with a seriously mentally ill patient who owns them, he fucking can….in Florida.

  • ByronK

    Well, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the gun lobby is out of control /s

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    That photo of LaPierre makes him look like he died after seeing Samara in “The Ring”.

    • Treant

      We should be so lucky. It’d be better, in this case, if Samara had shot him 47 times, of course, as the irony would be palpable.

    • clay

      I’m wondering if the background is intended to be the close-up of a hell-beast tangerine.

    • Stogiebear

      That’s his O-face from Vichy Kate fellating him.

  • Matt

    F****************ck, Florida lawmakers are stupid!

  • NancyP

    Because it would be UnAmerican to tell new parents that young kids can get into anything, so for heaven’s sake, keep the guns empty of ammo and locked up. I remember some 45 years ago, before the current NRA management, when gun owners were expected to be responsible and to know their safety rules.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Hey Wayne, there’s a reason speech is number 1 and your fetish is number 2.

  • bmoore4026
  • JCF
  • andrew

    In other news the Tobacco Industry wants to stop doctors from discussing the dangers of tobacco use with their patients, the Catholic Church wants to stop doctors from discussing condom use and safer sex with their patients, the Fast Food Industry wants to stop doctors from discussing fatty foods and heart disease with their patients, the alcoholic beverages industry wants to stop doctors from discussing alcohol use and liver and kidney health with their patients etc., etc., etc.