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Florida Pediatricians Praise Judge's Ruling on Guns

6:12 PM, Sep 15, 2011   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida pediatricians say they are ecstatic over a judge's ruling that allows them once again to ask patients whether they have guns in the home.

A new law that took effect this summer banned doctors from asking patients if they owned a gun.

But U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has issued a temporary injunction against the law, allowing doctors to resume asking questions about patients' gun ownership.

Doctors filed suit against the Firearm Owners Protection Act in June, arguing it was unconstitutional because it violated their First Amendment right of speech.

Judge Cooke agreed, saying doctors can offer advice on gun safety without interfering with a patient's right to own firearms.

Dr. Lisa Cosgrove, the president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says the ruling allows pediatricians to get back to what they do best: protecting children.

"So now in the office we're able to ask about gun safety, along with pool safety, along with chemical safety and keeping your child buckled up. This causes now for us to be able to have a good physician-patient relationship and there's no interference."

Supporters of the law argued it was intended to protect gun owners' privacy. They said doctors should not pry into people's personal lives or push an anti-gun political agenda.

State lawmakers passed the bill last spring and Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law.

Dr. Cosgrove calls it a frivolous law. She thinks it will ultimately be overturned.

"The judge actually pointed out several First Amendment rights that were violated and it's very telling that she agreed that there was an interference in the physician-patient relationship and this was against First Amendment rights."

The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics teamed up with other pediatric groups and the Brady Center in Washington, D.C. to challenge the law in court.

First Coast News

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