Fla. Gov. Signs Controversial “Docs and Glocks” Bill Into Law

Doctors and gun control groups are already saying they will challenge a Florida law signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott … Continued

Doctors and gun control groups are already saying they will challenge a Florida law signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott that makes it illegal for doctors to ask patients about gun ownership. Doctors say it’s the same as talking with patients about safe storage of poisons in the home or about using car seats.

From this story on ABCNews.com:
_”Gov. Rick Scott should realize the risks to public health and safety that he would be sanctioning by giving into the gun lobby’s agenda,” the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said in a joint statement with the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians. When it was first proposed in January, the gun gag bill sparked outrage among pediatricians, who said asking parents about guns in the home was not only their right but their responsibility.
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_”Including a discussion about gun safety during checkups at a pediatrician’s office is no different than encouraging parents to use car seats or keep poisons locked up,” said Dr. John Moses, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University. “The issue here is not the right of gun ownership, but simply child safety and the prevention of tragic injuries that can be avoided by proper gun storage.”

But supporters of the bill, proposed by State Rep. Jason Brodeur and nicknamed “docs and Glocks,” said it protects patients’ privacy as well as their right to bear arms.

“Parents don’t know what to believe and don’t know why their state wants to know if they lawfully own firearms,” Brodeur said in a January statement, adding that the purpose of the bill is to protect families from being denied treatment for refusing to answer questions about guns in their home.

Gunshot wounds account for one in 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Gov. Rick Scott should realize the risks to public health and safety that he would be sanctioning by giving into the gun lobby’s agenda,” the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said in a joint statement with the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians._

This story from The Gainesville Sun sheds some light on the impetus for the bill:

_The bill’s inspiration, at least in part, was a Marion County incident last year. HB 155, which takes effect immediately, allows doctors to ask about gun ownership and record that data only when they believe the information is pertinent to a patient’s safety and health. If the Florida Board of Medicine finds a doctor out of step with the law, the doctor could face various penalties, including fines of up to $10,000…

…Last summer, during an examination of her then 4-month-old baby, Amber Ullman of Summerfield declined to tell her child’s pediatrician whether she owned a gun.

Dr. Chris Okonkwo dismissed her from his office, telling her she had 30 days to find a new pediatrician and that she was no longer welcome at Children’s Health of Ocala.

The new law does not alter doctors’ ability to choose their patients. But state Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, who sponsored the bill, said people should feel free to go to the doctor without fearing they’ll get dismissed for not answering a question.

He said the new law isn’t meant to restrict doctor-patient conversations and that he would still encourage doctors to give safety advice._

For Dave Petzal’s opinion on the matter, click here.