Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Florida Firearm Owners' Privacy Act Under Review

Monday, June 24, 2013

On June 29, 2012 a federal district court in Florida blocked enforcement of several provisions of the state’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, resulting from the case Wollschlaeger v. Governor State of Florida

The 2011 law was enacted to stop activist doctors from pushing an anti-gun agenda upon the residents of Florida by unnecessarily inquiring about patients’ gun ownership, and to protect patients’ privacy by making sure doctors cannot record gun ownership information in a patient’s medical file. Under the law, medical professionals and insurance companies are also not allowed to discriminate against patients based upon gun ownership. The law also makes clear that patients have a right to refuse to answer health practitioners’ questions about gun ownership. The legislation was inspired by the experiences gun owners have faced while receiving medical treatment from anti-gun doctors.

The law is not an outright ban on doctor-patient speech, as has been portrayed in the media. It provides clear exceptions for gun ownership information that is “relevant to the patient's medical care or safety,” and for medical personnel to inquire about gun ownership or possession in an emergency. It also does not stop interested patients from inquiring with their physician about firearms.

Following the ruling, the only protections remaining are the recognition that a patient may refuse to give gun ownership information to a medical professional, and the ban on insurers discriminating against gun owners.

In her opinion, Judge Marcia C. Cooke held that the law is a content-based restriction on speech that violates the First Amendment, rejecting arguments that the act was a “permissible regulation of professional speech or occupational conduct.” She rejected Florida’s argument that the law is valid because of the state’s interest in protecting the right to keep and bear arms, stating that the argument was a “legislative illusion” and that patients’ rights wouldn’t be adversely affected in absence of the law. Also dismissed is Florida’s argument that the State has an interest in removing “barriers to the receipt of medical care arising from discrimination or harassment based on firearm ownership.” Despite numerous accounts of patients facing hardships due to owning firearms, Judge Cooke shuns these cases as anecdotal.

On July 31, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the State’s intention to appeal the case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, noting, “This law was carefully crafted to respect the First Amendment while ensuring a patient's constitutional right to own or possess a firearm without discrimination."

Since July, the case has been taken up by the 11th Circuit and briefs have been filed by both sides. On October 1, the NRA filed a “friend of the court” brief in defense of the statute. In the brief, lawyers for the NRA explain that the legislation “simply recommends that practitioners ‘should refrain’ from asking questions about firearms unless related to medical care or safety,” noting that the act targets “discrimination and harassment, not speech.” The brief goes on to contend that even if the statute were to pose a remote restriction on free speech, it is well within the state’s authority as it “regulates speech only as part of the practice of medicine.”

Oral arguments are likely to be heard before the court later this summer. The NRA will be sure to alert you to any developments in the defense of this important patient privacy legislation.

TRENDING NOW
Justice Department Terminates and Repudiates Operation Chokepoint

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Justice Department Terminates and Repudiates Operation Chokepoint

Current Justice Department leadership and Boyd should be commended for their forceful statement on this matter. This unequivocal repudiation of Operation Chokepoint should make a return to such political persecution unpalatable for all but the ...

Oregon: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Oregon: Governor Signs Anti-Gun Bill into Law

Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 719A.  Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A will create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could be obtained by a law enforcement ...

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Washington: Department of Labor & Industries Targeting Shooting Ranges

At the request of Public Health, Seattle & King County, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries has released a “first draft” of a new statewide regulatory scheme targeting lead and lead exposure in the workplace. ...

American Bar Association Continues to Attack Gun Owners, Due Process

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, August 18, 2017

American Bar Association Continues to Attack Gun Owners, Due Process

The 2016 compilation of legislative policies of the ABA includes a raft of gun control proposals. In it, the ABA advocates for outmoded gun control measures, such as limits on the sale and possession of ...

Elizabeth Warren Urges Democrats to Champion Gun Control, Shut Down Debate

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Elizabeth Warren Urges Democrats to Champion Gun Control, Shut Down Debate

Just as many in the Democratic Party are seeking to moderate their message in order to once again compete as a national political party, some high-profile Democrats are urging the party to lurch further left ...

First, Carry No Gun: Police Chief Gets Inhospitable Reception at Texas Medical Clinic

News  

Friday, August 18, 2017

First, Carry No Gun: Police Chief Gets Inhospitable Reception at Texas Medical Clinic

We recently reported on claims that “gun safety advocates” in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have given a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran an untenable choice: custody of his grandson or his constitutional ...

California: Ruling in NRA/CRPA Lawsuit Reigns in DOJ’s Misuse of DROS Fees

Friday, August 18, 2017

California: Ruling in NRA/CRPA Lawsuit Reigns in DOJ’s Misuse of DROS Fees

A California state court issued an important ruling in the NRA and CRPA supported case of Gentry v. Becerra, holding DOJ accountable for its historical mismanagement and misuse of DROS (dealer record of sale) account funds.

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

News  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stossel Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Congressional Action

Award-winning journalist John Stossel published a report this week that provides a timely reminder that – nearly a decade after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller – law abiding gun ...

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

News  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously held that the state was within its authority to prohibit cities and counties from routinely destroying firearms obtained through forfeiture or as unclaimed property. State law holds that ...

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

Thursday, August 17, 2017

California: 2017 Legislative Session Reconvenes on Monday

On Monday, August 21, the California Legislature will reconvene from Summer recess.  Below is the status on the firearm-related bills still moving through the legislative process.  Please send an email to your state legislators respectfully urging ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.