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Doctors Sue For Right To Ask If Patients Own Guns

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MIAMI (CBS4) – A group of physicians filed suit in Miami federal court Monday for the right to ask their patients if they own guns and have them properly stored, according to The News Service of Florida.

In what could be dubbed “Docs vs. Glocks”, physicians maintain they need to ask their patients the about the guns as part of their safety questions. They also ask if patients keep poisons in their home and how medications are stored.

The measure, HB 155, recently passed in both chambers along largely party line votes; 88-30 in the House and 27-10 in the Senate.

The complaint, filed in the Southern District of Florida, claims that prohibiting certain dialogue between doctors and patients is unconstitutional. It reads, in part:

By severely restricting such speech and the ability of physicians to practice such preventative medicine, the Florida statute could result in grievous harm to children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, the complaint reads. The First Amendment does not permit such a gross and content-based intrusion on speech and, accordingly, the court should declare the ‘Physician Gag Law unconstitutional and enjoin its enforcement.

The legislation is said to have originated after an Ocala couple complained that their doctor told them to find another physician when they refused to answer whether or not they owned guns and how they are stored.

Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, whose organization strongly supports the measure, could not be reached for comment.

“We pay doctors to be doctors and give us medical care,” Hammer said in an interview with the Capital News Service last week. “Instead, they are trying to be social workers and bring their gun-ban politics into the examining room.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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