Still reeling from the flawed Tuberculosis investigation and premature closing of Florida’s only TB hospital, the Scott administration is about to walk into another public relations disaster: Docs vs Glocks, HB155.
The political party that rails about protecting interference between doctor and patient passed a bill that severly punishes doctors if they asked patients about their guns. Pushed by the National Rifle Association, the law trashes doctor’s first amendment rights but dubiously argues second amendment gun rights as justification for the bill.
A wise judge blocked the Docs vs Glocks bill claiming, “The state’s arguments rest on a legislative illusion.” Wisely, Scott should have let the Bill die right there but no one could ever accuse Scott of wisdom.
Sadly, the Florida Medical Association, well known for its conservative leanings, accepted the Bill’s final version. Members should take note. Many other medical organizations, such as Florida Pediatric Society, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians are appalled by the implications for practicing physicians and want a reversal of this misguided Bill.
But the Scaott administration has challenged the ruling. The appeal is being let by none other than the Florida’s Health Department’s Surgeon General, the recently appointed Dr. John Armstrong. In all fairness to Armstrong he is being placed in that position because it is the Health Department that would enforce the bill should the appeal succeed.
Gun violence is so frequent that as a nation we are becoming immune to the tragedies. Not so for the victims and their families. Recently, the shooting inside the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, and less than a month prior the Colorado movie massacre, rivets our attention to the dangers of armed deranged persons walking community streets.
It would seem prudent to allow physicians to discuss firearms with patients if they think the subject is relevant. Such a conversation might prevent a tragedy. A law barring such a discussion is dead wrong.
I can appreciate the governor angling for continued support from the National Rifle Association. All politicians appreciate such financial support from lobbyists. But I must ask the governor and legislators who support the Docs vs Glocks bill, what are you thinking?