As a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who sues doctors and hospitals, I find Florida Governor Rick Scott’s obsession and interpretation of the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment frightening. Since becoming Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott has done little to make Florida’s patients safer.
When he signed the Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act into law he sought to prohibit doctors from asking if their patients had access to guns. Governor Scott claims that the law is needed to protect patients from being “harassed” by nosy doctors wanting to know and note if there are any weapons in the house. The law goes on to provide a means to discipline doctors if they violate the law or affect the patient’s insurance premiums.
Of course the National Rifle Association is fully supporting Governor Scott on this issue. The most significant critics of this law is the Florida Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP claims, when a gun is kept in a home it is 43 times more likely to kill someone known to the family than to kill someone in self-defense.
The risk of suicide is 5 times more likely when a gun is kept in the home.
It is impossible for our Florida personal injury law firm to imagine a scenario where a dispute would arise between the NRA and our governor against a group of pediatricians–but that is precisely what is happening. United States District Court Judge Marcia Cooke ruled that Governor Scott’s law was invalid stating that Doctor’s have a First Amendment right to inquire about fire arms. Governor Scott is appealing the ruling.
Sadly, our Miami attorneys who represent families of suicide victims have seen first hand the devastation that can happen when untreated or misdiagnosed patients have access to a gun. We agree with Judge Cooke’s ruling and urge Governor Scott to reconsider his views on this issue. We believe that patients and their families should be provided with the best and safest medical care. Governor Scott has no business interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, especially when the safety of patients and their families is in question. There simply is no reasonable explanation to pass a law that prevents doctors from simply ask if a gun is in the house.