Florida Doctors Can’t Ask About Gun Ownership in Most Situations

Florida legislatureFlorida Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law a bill that restricted when doctors can ask their patients whether or not they own firearms.

As the Gainesville Sun reported, “HB 155, which takes effect immediately, allows doctors to ask about gun ownership and record that data only when they believe the information is pertinent to a patient’s safety and health. If the Florida Board of Medicine finds a doctor out of step with the law, the doctor could face various penalties, including fines of up to $10,000.”

In large part, the bill stemmed from a case last year when, “during an examination of her then 4-month-old baby, Amber Ullman of Summerfield declined to tell her child’s pediatrician whether she owned a gun.  Dr. Chris Okonkwo dismissed her from his office, telling her she had 30 days to find a new pediatrician and that she was no longer welcome at Children’s Health of Ocala.”

“Physician groups argue they should be able to ask patients about firearms because not securing guns can lead to a greater risk for death or injury,” the Sun noted.

Shortly after HB 155 was signed, three Florida physician groups, plus the anti-gun Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, announced they would file a lawsuit to block the new law.

Source:  Gainesville Sun 6/3/11:


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