Board may fine or revoke doctors for talking about gun safety
Florida physicians are barred from discussing gun safety with their patients, and the state medical board may revoke their licenses and fine them up to $10,000 if they do so, a Florida appeals court ruled July 25. (Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida) The ruling, in a case brought by several physician groups that support the recommendation that physicians discuss gun safety with their patients who have children, ends an injunction that a federal court imposed in 2012 against the state Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act.
The policy of the American Medical Association is to encourage doctors to inquire about the presence of firearms in homes where children live, to protect them from gun-related accidents, but state legislators passed the 2011 law to prevent invasion of gun owners’ “privacy.” The physician groups argued the law violated their freedom of speech while lawyers for the state said the law was merely a regulation of professional conduct and imposed only an incidental burden on the physicians’ speech.
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