As far as gun bloggers are concerned I feel I’ve been in the minority on the issue of barring doctors from asking patients about guns. I’m never a fan of legislation that tramples one right in the futile attempt of protecting another. Well it seems a Florida judge agrees with my belief that the law preventing doctors from asking patients about guns was a bad piece of legislation:
In August, the Florida chapters of three professional physicians’ organizations, along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, sued on the grounds that the law — a “physician gag law,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called it — violated doctors’ freedom of speech. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Miami agreed and temporarily blocked the law. It seems likely that the decision will become permanent.
“Despite the State’s insistence that the right to ‘keep arms’ is the primary constitutional right at issue in this litigation, a plain reading of the statute reveals that this law in no way affects such rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke. “A practitioner who counsels a patient on firearm safety, even when entirely irrelevant to medical care or safety, does not affect nor interfere with the patient’s right to continue to own, possess, or use firearms.”
In my opinion all rights should be absolute because every infraction against a right sets up a precedence for the government to perform more infractions down the road. It’s a case of giving an inch to somebody and seeing them take a mile. Although I sympathize with the supporters of this law I can’t support it. There is the possibility of doctors using your medical records as an underhanded gun registration system but making it illegal for your doctor to ask about guns is a direct violation of their right to free speech.
Ultimately the market can be used to solve this problem. You’re under no obligation to answer any inquires from your doctor so the easier solution to this potential problem is to not answer any questions your doctor asks about firearms. If your doctor continues to insist that you tell him whether or not you own firearms you can go to a different doctor. This is a system known as voting with your wallet and it works quite well (unless the government forces you to pay money to somebody of course).
Although the pro-gun side says this law is necessary to prevent a secret gun registry from being established and anti-gunners claim this law is dangerous because it bars doctors from asking about an actual medical issue I don’t see either argument as the core issue. The core issue here is that this law violates the freedom of speech to protect the right to keep and bear arms. The right being violated in this case is the one that allows us to have open discussion on issues such as the rights of gun owners. I’m not willing to sell one right down the river to protect another and thus am happy to see this ruling.