Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bizarre Florida Gun Law Blocked by a Federal Judge

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of a first-in-the-nation law that restricted what Florida physicians can say about guns to their patients, ruling the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s free speech guarantees and does not trample gun rights.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke said it was important to emphasize “the free flow of truthful, non-misleading information within the doctor-patient relationship.”

“This case concerns one of our Constitution’s most precious rights — the freedom of speech,” said Cooke, appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush. “A practitioner who counsels a patient on firearm safety, even when entirely irrelevant to medical care or safety, does not affect or interfere with the patient’s right to continue to own, possess or use firearms.”
This was truly one of the most bizarre gun laws, it barely made sense. Yet the support was as strong as if we'd been discussing gun registration, which every gun owners knows leads directly and inevitably to confiscation.

The NRA pushed this nonsense which amounted to a gag order, actually presuming to tell doctors what they can and cannot say to their patients. Governor Rick Scott signed off on it, of course, which contributed to his reputation as one of the worst.

The whole weird story could only have happened in a state like Florida, which as everyone knows is The Most Baneful State of the Union.

What's your opinion? Isn't there an obvious First Amendment contradiction in this legislation? Wasn't it bound to run into trouble in practice?  The suggestion that gun talk during a medical exam is inappropriate is ridiculous, but even if it were, certainly should not require a law prohibiting it.

This seems to be another example of the flip-flopping which gun-rights activists often do, always depending on what best supports their agenda.  Normally they bristle and resist government interference and unnecessary laws.  In this case, they wanted exactly that.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. I'm sure that the Type2A's will be flocking here to agree witht the judge's principled stance on the 1st Amendment.

  2. Yes, the Constitution trumps all to the pro-gunners ... unless it doesn't fit their agenda.