First Amendment Wins In Battle With Second Amendment
Apparently some Florida gun advocates are way more concerned about their perceived Second Amendment rights than they are with the First Amendment rights of doctors. Pro gun advocates helped pass through a Florida law earlier this year that severely restricted doctors from talking to their patients about guns. Among other things, the law prohibits doctors from asking a patient whether the patient owns a firearm, discriminate against a patient who owns a gun or “unnecessarily harass a patient about firearm ownership.” Failure to abide by the law could result in disciplinary action. A group of physicians and physician groups brought a federal action challenging the law and the court has issued an injunction halting its enforcement. The doctors pointed out that pediatricians and other practitioners practice preventative medicine, and as part of that exercise, they ask questions and advise about all kinds of household risks – for example chemicals, swimming pools, second hand smoke. The new law is a content based restriction on speech – it applies based on what the speaker is talking about – and it unnecessarily interferes with the doctor patient relationship, not to mention the right of a doctor to terminate a relationship with a patient. And to say that there is any Second Amendment right involved here is a stretch of mammoth proportions. First, the Second Amendment – which protects the right of a militia to bear arms – only applies to government action, not the actions of private physicians. And second, the Second Amendment protects the right to bear to arms, not the right to make other people stop talking about it. Bad ideas lead to dumb legislation. This is a great example. Nice work by the Judge. This decision is right on target.