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No, there is no one named “Doctor Gun Gag,” he’s not part duck, so he doesn’t have a bill. I refer to the just-passed Florida bill HB 155, the NRA-sponsored legislation restricting Florida doctors from discussing firearms with their patients. No really. “Inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession should not be made by licensed health care practitioners or health care facilities; providing an exception for emergency medical technicians and paramedics.” I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if my Doctor asks me about firearms (which he has) but . . .

I do care if the government tells my doctor what he can and can not discuss with his patients. This bone-headed bill trampling doctors’ First Amendment rights could well make it onto the governor’s desk and into law.

The only good part? The bill is toothless. According to the Miami Herald, the whole felony with big fines deal has been walked down to a self-regulating slap on the wrist at best (worst?). To wit . . .

In debate, Brodeur said the law would be enforced by patients who complain to the state Board of Medicine. The board then could investigate and administratively discipline doctors.

So what’s the point—other than political grandstanding? None.

“This is purely a political attack on the right to own a firearm,” [Republican Rep Frank] Artiles said. “People are not reporting it, but it’s happening.”

After the vote, [former NRA Prez and current lobbyist Marion] Hammer told reporters she knew of other instances similar to the pediatrician in Ocala but could not say how many.

As Brodeur said later, “That’s an impossible number to know, (but) I don’t think there needs to be more than one occurrence.”

Shame on the NRA.

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      • I, often, don’t agree with their positions. Also, I do not have a paranoid sense that I am about to lose my rights, 2nd amendment, at least . . . might be because I live in a very pro-gun, pro-hunting area.

        • I, likewise, could never really see myself as joining the NRA.

          I find their stances on a number of crucial issues to be rather soft, and they are entirely too willing to compromise with the enemy.

          My rights are not a game of give and take.

          • So, I guess NOT having a influential gun-rights advocate is better than having one who is willing to compromise on certain aspects? I don’t know if I buy that logic.

        • Good for you, living in a very pro-gun, pro-hunting area. I guess you don’t need to worry about what happens in Washington. There’s no way they could force their anti-gun agenda on you.

          Look, you don’t need to be paraniod or agree with all of the NRA’s political positions to see the value of what they do. And if you aren’t willing to do something to help, then that’s your choice. Some of us will do what we can to help, and hopefully that’ll be enough.

          And if we lose the ability to exercise our God-given right to defend ourselves and our families … Well, at least breathing is just a “worldly” thing.

  1. I guess I don’t have as much heartburn about this as you. My concern is the coming Obamacare, where doctors, via regulatory fiat, will go well beyond guns and discuss diet, lifestyle choices, perhaps even dangerous hobbies such as mountain climbing, bicycling, racing the dirt bike, etc… I think this law was an attempt to thwart that for guns (the NRA does lobby for Firearm laws, as opposed to SAF which fights LEGAL courtroom battles for the 2nd amendment).

    I see three sides to this issue, A) Doctors required to ask, B) neutral (where I think you reside), and C) Doctors be prohibited from asking. Assuming B is not an option under current Nanny State rules, I believe C might be the better alternative. Just my $.02.

  2. Doctors do not have a First Amendment right to break their patients’ balls — especially since the doctors’ services are being paid for by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. This is not a First Amendment issue. This is not a health care issue. This is a utilization of resources issue — resources most often paid for by third parties, often by taxpayers — and the state of Florida has full authority to pass and enforce this legislation. And may I respectfully add that the AMA can KMA. Am I clear?

    • Anytime you tell an American that he or she is prohibited from talking about a certain subject in a certain way, it’s a First Amendment issue. You may believe it’s OK to restrict a doc’s right to free speech (i.e. anti-gun ball busting) for some greater good (e.g., protecting Second Amendment rights), but I say horseshit. The First Amendment—and doctor – patient privilege—is too important to stick that tape recording camel’s nose under the tent.

      As the law allows doctors to discuss guns with patients relative to a patient’s safety or the safety of others (thank God), and a doctor could claim that ANY discussion of firearms is about the patient’s safety or the safety of others, and the politicians are leaving it to the doctors cabal to “investigate” and punish transgressions (like that’s gonna happen), what the Hell was the point?

      Oh wait; I know! Some leech-like lawyer (are there any other kind present commentator excepted) will threaten to sue a doctor for anti-gun crusading, take a nice pay off from that government-funded hospital and live happily ever after.

      • Not that I would deign to speak for Ralph, but rather I will say this as someone with a degree in Economics (i.e. I can’t tell shit from shinola but I can price both)-time is literally money. If you are paying for the doctor’s time out of your pocket and you are ok with paying him or her for bs’ing about the game or asking about your collection then that is between you and your CPA. If someone else, say BC/BS or Medicaid or Medicare, is paying for it, then they get a say in my book. If the state compels those entities to pay those costs then the state is taking the responsibility upon itself to say what is a worthwhile use of that time. I will bet you the bill that if my Dr. said that the time we spent test driving Ferraris and watching his alma mater lose at the NCAA tournament was “diagnosis” her/his ass (or at least the bill) would be kicked to the curb and probably criminally charged.

      • It’s not a First Amendment issue when the doctor is breaking my agates ON MY DIME. Read again — ON MY DIME. What don’t you understand about that? The doctor’s agenda be damned — he or she is supposed to be caring for what ails me, not jumping on a soapbox to advance his own politics. Frankly, when my doctor is shoving her fingers up you know where checking my prostate, the last thing I want to hear her say is “do you own a gun?” ‘Cause frankly, at that moment in time, I would wish that I had a .38 handy.

        By law, the doctor is not allowed to discuss my medical records with anyone without my consent. Is that an infringement on her First Amendment rights? No. Her First Amendment rights yield to my rights because, among other reasons, IT’S ON MY DIME. Got it?

        • Save your dime. Decide what you want to hear from your doctor on your dime, make a list and read it to yourself in the mirror. Then check your own prostate.

          Believe me when I say, your doctor doesn’t want your dime. Insurers and the Federal Government already have plenty of control over what your doctor can and can’t do to help you. This is an example of an overfunded special interest group compounding the problem. You all stand on your soap boxes but when laws are passed based on the agendas of left winged special interest groups further limiting what YOUR physician can and can’t do for you, make sure you’re at the ready because your exact same arguments will apply.

          It’s still “your” dime after all.

  3. It was my understanding that the law also prohibited any information about firearms from being recorded on patient records or transmitted to any government agency. Which, given the nature of ObamaCare, seems like a very worthwhile measure to enact.

    It also prevents discrimination against gun owners by nosy doctors who don’t like being told to keep their anti-gun opinions to themselves. Or so I read:

    Maybe this law is toothless. But more to the point, WHY NOT impose nuisance legislation on the gun-grabbers?

    They have been trying to kill gun rights with the death-0f-1000-cuts strategy for decades. No muzzle-brakes. No bayonet lugs. No folding stocks. No magazines over 10 rounds. No guns except those “allowed” by the state government (I’m looking at you, Massachusetts!). No guns in restaurants that serve alcohol. No guns near schools. Endless red tape when you try to open a gun store or god-forbid a shooting range. There is no end to the variety of bullshit restrictions that the gun-grabbers try to ram down our throats.

    Now it is their turn to fight off nuisance legislation and cope with the consequences when it passes. Maybe it will stop the medical organizations from encouraging their members to poke their noses into matters that are none of their business.

    In any case, the people have spoken.

    • I agree with the anti-discrimination bit. No. Wait. Where’s the evidence that this is a problem? As I recall there was one, count it one, case where a doctor told a gun-toting patient to piss off.

      I thought gun rights folks were against Big Brother government. Now it’s OK? Two wrongs—or one wrong to counter hundreds—make a right? I’m not on that crazy train.

      • “As I recall there was one, count it one, case where a doctor told a gun-toting patient to piss off. “

        Black Americans sat in the back of the bus until one, count it one, woman named Rosa Parks decided not to take that particular brand of shit anymore.

        “One” would seem to be plenty of reasons to stop bad behavior.

        But there’s a deeper question here: Why so much empathy for gun-grabber doctors? Stockholm Syndrome? Is that why you give MikeB free reign to waste TTAGer’s time and hurl lies and rhetorical feces at your valued contributors? Do you think Bradley Manning belongs in jail? It’s a puzzling, carefully-parsed devotion to the First Amendment, which is why I ask.

        Just like with the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, the legislature has spoken. The poor oppressed little doctors have plenty of time and money to mount a legal challenge to this law to go back to harassing their patients. The system is working as intended. No one has lost his medical license, no one has paid a fine, no one has gone to jail.

        And “one” is greater than “none”.

  4. Tomorrow morning, the Fl Senate will vote on SB 234, which will legalize open carry. That’s a tall order and a big deal if it goes through. There will be a poison amendment offered and it’s going to be a close one. It will be broadcast live on the senate home page.

  5. My doctor’s a great guy and he asks me every year if I own any firearms, and do I keep them unloaded and locked up. I always tell that I have several safes full of guns and that I always keep many of them loaded and ready to go, cuz I don’t want to ask some bad guy to wait while I load one of my guns. This year he remembered what I always say and answered his own question with my usual response.

  6. My Aunt and Uncle are both pediatricians in Florida. They talk to their patients and their patients’ parents about water safety, bike safety, reasons for exercise and a balanced diet, when to use a car seat or booster seat instead of a seatbelt, and for their older patients when mom and dad are out of the room about sex drugs and alcohol. All of these affect the health and safety of the child. Why keep them from talking about guns? They can be just as dangerous if your doing something stupid. Unfortunately not everyone who owns a gun knows all the rules and safe practices around them. At least let the doc talk to the kid to tell him not to do something stupid with a gun, just like the doc would tell the 16 year old boy to use a condom.

    For us who are adults we get our blood drawn and checked for cholesterol and liver function. If we smoke they advise against it because it isn’t good for you, if you’re overweight they recommend for you to change your diet and exercise habits so your heart doesn’t give out. Why not let a doctor recommend that you take care of your firearms so no one gets injured or worse because of a negligent discharge? Not everyone who is armed is part of the armed intelligencia.

    • “Why not let a doctor recommend that you take care of your firearms so no one gets injured or worse because of a negligent discharge?”

      First, because it’s none of their damn business.
      Second, because doctors are supposedly experts in medicine and don’t know a anything about guns. And frankly, more people are killed by doctors every year than by guns, so maybe doctors should be warning me about doctors, not guns.

  7. Love or hate the NRA, I guarantee we “gun owners” are much better off with the NRA. Do I agree with 100% of their moves, no, but I don’t agree with 100% of any group. Some of the most influential groups are religious and I promise you, there is not a single religious group with 100% approval amongst their members. However, I 100% agree with their basic principals of the NRA, protecting the 2nd Amendment.

  8. I wondered if my doctor could still ask me about elevated lead levels in my blood. I found this passage in the bill:

    “providing an exception for relevance of the information to the patient’s medical care or safety or the safety of others”

    Doesn’t that make the whole thing useless? Certain parties would argue that asking about guns is always relevant to your safety and the safety of others.

  9. i agree the NRA is alarmist and don’t agree with some of their positions but to those people who say ( oh i don’t agree or oh i’m a democrat) thats such a cop out, what you really should say is i’m to cheap to pull money out of my wallet and will continue to live my live riding others coattails. Man the F–k up and stand up for your rights like a patriot, if you don’t want to join the NRA for one of the cop out reasons fine you an idot but here’s some things you can do,
    – join one of the other organizations that protects second amendment rights
    -send money to pro gun politicians.

  10. Any law that enables anyone to slap a doctor on a wrist for something OTHER than malpractice or drunken surgery is bad news. A doctor’s career can be ruined by hospital administrators or medical review boards. Giving ammo to a disgruntled pencil pushing hospital employee, especially in the form of state legislation, can be a KO to even the most qualified doctor.

  11. Most of the docs I work with, and I am one as well, are pro-personal responsibility. Read that as pro-gun. Laws and grandstanding like this make my mission of educating people away from the gun banner’s camps more difficult.

    Can we discuss guns if we’ve got our MD AND are certified NRA instructors?

    • No. Seriously. They can’t talk about guns outside of a safety context. How f’ed up is that?

      • About as f’ed up as the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (which trampled the Second Amendment) and McCain/Feingold (which trampled the First Amendment).

        Dubious laws happen. But this time, its the gun-grabbers and leftists who have to contend with the consequences.

        Save your outrage for a different cause.

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