Florida Law Causes Debate Between Physician and Gun Rights Advocates

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In Tallahassee, Florida, lawmakers and some physicians have been debating the Florida law regarding the relationship between gun ownership and medical care. At the heart of this debate is House Bill 155, which would make it a criminal offense for a physician to inquire into the patient’s ownership of a firearm. This is the first law of its kind in the nation and it has some physicians worried that the law will create a slippery slope and hinder the physicians ability to get a full and complete history from the patient without undue regulation by the State of Florida. In response, supporters of the law argue that this sort of information is constitutionally protected and that doctors have no right to inquire about it.

While most physicians might differ in their opinion on what questions are appropriate to ask a patient, many physicians are concerned about criminalizing questions that a physician may ask as part of the medical history of the patient and the current and future safety of others especially children. It is important in any fiduciary relationship, whether it be medicine or law, that the client or patient has trust in whoever is taking care of them and vice versa. By enacting laws like Florida House Bill 155, some physicians believe that this relationship will be seriously hindered. Most feel it should be left to the doctors to determine whether or not a particular question is appropriate. Some even claim that it is a violation of their 1st amendment rights to make certain lines of questioning illegal.

Along with House Bill 155, the Florida Congress passed two more laws granting more rights to gun owners across the state. To read more on this story, see Guns bills approved.