By David Paulin
What's happening to the medical profession? In Madison, Wisconsin, lefty pro-union physicians wrote bogus medical excuses to striking school teachers -- so they wouldn't be disciplined for failing to show up for their classes. Now in Florida, a coalition of physicians with an anti-gun bent are insisting they have the right to ask patients whether they own guns and are storing them safely.
To most gun owners, of course, the fact that they own firearms and how they store them is a private matter - and certainly not the business of their physicians. So it was not surprising that some Florida gun owners went ballistic when, not long ago, they went in for checkups - and had their physicians instead peppering them with questions about their guns and where they keep them.
"We pay doctors to be doctors and give us medical care," Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told Capital News Service. "Instead, they are trying to be social workers and bring their gun-ban politics into the examining room."
Complaints from gun owners and the NRA eventually reached Florida's lawmakers. Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed legislation restricting the ability of physicians to ask patients about guns in their home. Lawmakers passed the bill largely along party lines.
But the controversy isn't over just yet. Now, the anti-gun physicians are fighting back. In an article about the controversy, the Orlando Sentinel reports:
Attorneys with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and two other law firms are seeking to block enforcement of the law on behalf of three South Florida doctors as well as the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians.
The bill passed after lobbyists for gun-rights groups and the Florida Medical Association cut a deal that removed the original bill's fine of up to $5 million and jail time for doctors and weakened other restrictions. But other physicians groups -- most notably, pediatricians -- have continued to fight it, saying that they ask about guns to ensure that parents keep them safely locked up and away from children.
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," according to the lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Miami.
Interestingly, some anti-gun physicians apparently considered their queries about gun ownership to be protected under the First Amendment - yet they did not consider that their patients had a First Amendment right not to answer their questions. Or as the Miami Herald reported: The legislation restricting physicians from inquiring about firearms ownership "appears to have originated after an Ocala couple complained that their doctor had told them to find another physician after they refused to disclose whether they owned guns and how they were stored."
Some might call this an example of the Nanny State. But the more apt term for it is police state. How do you suppose these physicians feel about Obamacare?