Federal judge permanently blocks docs n’ guns lawby Dara Kam | July 2nd, 2012
Florida doctors will be allowed to ask their patients about gun ownership after a federal judge on Friday ruled a law barring physicians from questioning patients about weapons in the home is unconstitutional.
On Friday, Cooke ruled that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment freedom of speech rights.
“This law chills practitioners’ speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient,” Cooke wrote in her 25-page ruling>ruling.
Passed by lawmakers last year, Florida was the only state in the nation to impose the restriction on doctors, according to the National Rifle Association, which pushed the law. Some gun-owners complained that their doctors were using questions about firearms to discourage gun ownership. According to the lawsuit, one doctor refused to treat a patient who refused to answer questions about whether he owned a gun.
Cooke also said the law, which imposes penalties on doctors who “unnecessarily harass a patient about firearm ownership,” was too vague.
The “harassment provision does not provide fair notice as to what range of conduct it prohibits,” Cooke wrote.