Federal judge strikes down Fla. law restricting doctors’ gun talk

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MIAMI — A federal judge has struck down a Florida law that bars doctors from talking about gun ownership with their patients.

The Miami Herald reported that U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke on June 29 ruled in favor of physicians who argued that the law violated their free-speech rights. Cooke had issued a preliminary order blocking the law in September.

In a 25-page ruling Cooke wrote that evidence shows physicians had started “self-censoring” because of the legislation’s “chilling” effect.

Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature adopted the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act in 2011 after an Ocala couple complained that a doctor had asked them about guns. The couple said they refused to answer and the physician refused to see them again.

Rep. Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford who sponsored the bill, says an appeal is likely.

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