Court Upholds Florida's Firearm Owners' Privacy Act

by
posted on July 31, 2014
sinews.jpg (99)

In a 2-1 ruling July 25, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a Florida law that restricts intrusive questioning by physicians about patients' ownership and use of firearms. The action reversed a 2012 injunction issued by a federal judge in Miami, who ruled the NRA-supported Firearm Owners' Privacy Act violated the free-speech rights of physicians to counsel their patients about "health-related matters."

The case, Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida, challenged the law and insisted physicians had a right under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to routinely question patients on their choices concerning firearms ownership as a health-related matter. In its ruling last week, the Court of Appeals rejected the suit's claims.

"The essence of the Act," the court wrote, "is simple: medical practitioners should not record information or inquire about patients' firearm-ownership status when doing so is not necessary to providing the patient with good medical care." Accordingly, the court found that "[t]he Act merely circumscribes the unnecessary collection of patient information on one of many potential sensitive topics."

The court noted nothing in the Florida law prohibits doctors from expressing their views about firearms or about any other medical or public policy issue. Rather, it is within keeping of long-established "codes of conduct that define the practice of good medicine and affirm the responsibility that physicians bear" and "protects a patient's ability to receive effective medical treatment without compromising the patient's privacy with regard to matters unrelated to healthcare."

The Firearm Owners' Privacy Act was passed in 2011 in response to an American Medical Association policy that encouraged doctors to inquire about the presence of firearms in homes.

"We find that the Act is a valid regulation of professional conduct that has only incidental effect on physicians' speech," wrote Judge Gerald Tjoflat, adding, "The Act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient's care."

Latest

Green streak ammo
Green streak ammo

First Look: Ammo, Inc. Green Streak Ammo

Performs similar to pyrotechnic tracer ammo, with fewer worries about setting the world on fire.

Review: Versacarry Insurgent Deluxe IWB/OWB Holster

A convertible holster that works for inside or outside the waistband carry.

First Look: Anderson Manufacturing AM-10 Breacher

The power of the .308 cartridge, packaged in a large-format pistol.

I Carry Spotlight: Rimfire Options

In this special "I Carry" Spotlight, we highlight rimfire options from FN, KelTec, Ruger, SIG Sauer and Smith & Wesson for practice and self-defense.

Despite Sales Decline, 2022 on Pace to See the Third-Largest Number of Guns Sold Since Records Began

The effects of the pandemic and recent social unrest are passing, but firearms sales remain very strong.

Resocializing After COVID

Research has noted a variety of mental-health consequences that have been experienced by countless individuals, families, communities and businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.