Another month, another one of Rick Scott's controversial laws struck down by a federal court. This time around it's a strange NRA-backed provision that banned doctors from asking patients about owning a gun. A Miami-based federal judge had already placed an injunction on the law, and last week struck it down in court. Though, the state could pursue an appeal.
The "Firearm Owners' Privacy Act" passed the legislature in 2011, and it forbid doctors from asking about guns in most cases. The law did allow doctors to ask about gun ownership in some special cases, but, what do you know, never actually bothered to spell out what those cases might be.
So, was it really much of a problem that doctors were grilling patients about their gun ownership? Not really. An Ocala couple refused to talk to their doctor about guns, so he refused to see them again. They complained to their local state representative. He churned out this messy law, and because the Republican-controlled Florida legislature sits in the NRA's lap, it was passed and signed into law by Rick Scott.
Of course, when one party dominates a legislative body and there's no one there with any power to add some common sense criticism to a bill, they tend to come out badly. So, a host of doctor's groups lined up to challenge it in court, and U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke struck the whole thing down on Friday.
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"What is curious about this law -- and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners' speech -- is that it aims to restrict a practitioner's ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient," Cooke wrote.
The state could try and appeal the ruling, but until then the law is basically dead and will not be enforced.