Second Amendment

NRA-Backed Law Violates the First Amendment in the Name of Protecting the Second

The right to armed self-defense is not a license to muzzle nosy doctors.

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Mike Kemp/Blend Images/Newscom

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned a censorious Florida law that tried to stop doctors from pestering their patients about guns, sacrificing the First Amendment in the name of protecting the Second. Such laws, which the National Rifle Association supports, show how fake rights—in this case, an overbroad understanding of the right to armed self-defense—endanger real ones.

Florida's Firearm Owners' Privacy Act, enacted in 2011, was a response to complaints that pediatricians and family practitioners had become excessively nosy about guns in the homes of their patients. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians encourage their members to ask parents about guns, treating them as hazards analogous to alcohol, swimming pools, and poisonous household chemicals. Sometimes gun owners object to such inquiries, especially if they seem to be colored by a moralistic anti-gun ideology. The 11th Circuit's decision describes half a dozen examples that influenced Florida's legislators:

  1. A pediatrician in Ocala had reportedly told a mother that she would have to find a new physician for her child due to her refusal to disclose information about firearm ownership in the family home.
  2. A state representative said that his daughter's pediatrician inquired if he owned a firearm, and then asked him to remove the firearm from the home.
  3. An email described how a mother "was separated from her children while medical personnel…interrogated" them about firearm ownership and put information about such ownership in their medical records.
  4. One doctor refused to treat a child because he wanted to know if there were firearms in the home.
  5. A patient, according to a state senator, was told that disclosing firearm ownership was a Medicaid requirement. And another patient was informed that Medicaid does not pay for care if patients refuse to answer firearm-ownership questions.
  6. A representative of the National Rifle Association reported that a child would not be examined if the parent refused to answer questions about firearms in the home.

Assuming these accounts are accurate, the behavior of these doctors may have been unreasonable or even (when they misrepresented Medicaid requirements) unethical. But their requests for information about guns were not unconstitutional, since the Second Amendment applies only to the government. The law passed in response to these anecdotes nevertheless purported to protect the Second Amendment rights of Floridians by regulating what doctors say to their patients. As the 11th Circuit notes, that makes no sense (citations omitted, emphasis added):

There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients' firearms or otherwise infringed on patients' Second Amendment rights. This evidentiary void is not surprising because doctors and medical professionals, as private actors, do not have any authority (legal or otherwise) to restrict the ownership or possession of firearms by patients (or by anyone else for that matter). The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right. So, as the district court aptly noted, there is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients that justifies [the law's] speaker-focused and content-based restrictions on speech.

In addition to prohibiting doctors from discriminating against gun owners (a provision the appeals court upheld), the Firearm Owners' Privacy Act forbade them to request or record information about guns unless it is "relevant to the patient's medical care or safety, or the safety of others"—a standard that rules out routine inquiries about firearms. The law also instructed doctors to "refrain from unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership during an examination." As 11th Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus notes in a concurring opinion, that "incomprehensibly vague" provision raises due process as well as free speech concerns, since doctors are "left guessing as to when their 'necessary' harassment crosses the line and becomes 'unnecessary' harassment." Violations of these rules were punishable by fines and disciplinary actions such as letters of reprimand, probation, compulsory remedial education, and license suspension.

The speech restrictions imposed by Florida's law are clearly content-based, since they target communications dealing with a specific subject. The Supreme Court generally views content-based speech restrictions as "presumptively invalid" under the First Amendment, meaning they are subject to "strict scrutiny," which requires showing they are narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. The 11th Circuit concludes that the Firearm Owners' Privacy Act fails even the more lenient standard of "heightened scrutiny," which the Supreme Court applied in a 2011 case involving state regulation of pharmacists. That test requires the government to show the challenged law "directly advances a substantial governmental interest and that the measure is drawn to achieve that interest," meaning there is a "fit between the legislature's ends and the means chosen to accomplish those ends."

Noting that state legislators "relied on six anecdotes and nothing more" when they enacted the Firearm Owners' Privacy Act, the appeals court finds the official rationales for the law—which, in addition to the Second Amendment, invoke patient privacy, protection against discrimination, and public health—inadequate to justify its speech restrictions. "Florida may generally believe that doctors and medical professionals should not ask about, nor express views hostile to, firearm ownership," the 11th Circuit says, "but it 'may not burden the speech of others in order to tilt public debate in a preferred direction.'" As for patients who object to questions about gun ownership, the appeals court says, they are not required to answer them, and they are free to choose less inquisitive doctors.

Florida's attempt to protect gun owners from offensive questions is reminiscent of the Oklahoma law requiring businesses to let employees keep firearms in company parking lots. When ConocoPhillips challenged that law in federal court, the NRA launched a boycott of the oil and gas company. "We're going to make ConocoPhillips the example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

ConocoPhillips cannot take away people's Second Amendment rights any more than Florida doctors can. And just as doctors have a right to ask patients about guns, even if that makes some patients uncomfortable, businesses have a right to control their own property, which includes the right to ban guns there. In both cases, the NRA argues, in effect, that the Second Amendment requires violating people's rights.

NEXT: The School Project That Sets Parents Free

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  1. When ConocoPhillips challenged that law in federal court, the NRA launched a boycott of the oil and gas company. “We’re going to make ConocoPhillips the example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights,”

    In both cases, the NRA argues, in effect, that the Second Amendment requires violating people’s rights.

    There are stupid people.

    There’s really fucking stupid people.

    There are legally retarded people.

    Then there’s Jacob Sullum arguing that a private organization organizing its members to boycott is a rights violation. Holy fucking shit, what happened to Reason?

    1. Florida should pass a more carefully constructed law. Perhaps requiring physicians to inform patients they have no right to privacy and anything they say may be reported to the government resulting in having their children kidnapped.

      Call the law “Miranda for Medicaid”. Perhaps all patients should have the right to have an attorney present when they take the kids to the pediatrician. Paid for by the government if they can’t afford one of course.

      1. >> American Academy of Family Physicians encourage their members to ask parents about guns, treating them as hazards analogous to alcohol, swimming pools, and poisonous household chemicals.

        This is not what happens. Doctors with an agenda ask about guns – but don’t ask about swimming pools, poisons, household chemicals. They also do not refuse to treat people who don’t provide information about these items.

        Barring a doctor from asking about guns isn’t a violation of First Amendment rights. It’s a narrowly tailored exception that preserves Second Amendment rights. If a doctor is concerned that his patient may endanger kids through firearms, swimming pools, or chemicals – he is perfectly able to WARN them of the potential risks. As soon as he asks about gun ownership, he goes over the line. It is none of his business. It does not lead to a medically-related information any more than inquiries about a patient’s income, political affiliation or religious beliefs. It’s the same with firearm ownership.

        Best approach? Print up a pamphlet and give it to patients. Doctors can even include their political agenda in the pamphlet.

        I agree that the “refrain from unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership during an examination” is vague and unnecessary, so some tailoring of the law is necessary. I hope Marion Hammer makes the replacement bill STRONGER with bigger penalties… like 1-year loss of medical license after the second offense.

        1. So florists should be forced to bake those Gay wedding and Nazi cakes after all?

      2. Or this – the law should have simply required an up-front declaration to all potential patients – before they pay or prepay for a visit – that the Doctor will inquire about gun ownership; maybe even a sign on the front door of the business declaring such. You’d be surprised how many doctors will then forego being nosy in the name of an agenda if it means they will lose a great deal of patients. They do, after all, get away with nosy shit like this because by the time you’re in the exam room and get broadsided with grilling, you’ve already paid or will be billed for services.

    2. I don’t believe it was the boycott Jacob was arguing was a violation of Conoco Phillips rights. It was the law the NRA was backing that took private property rights away from corporations. Any corporation or person has the right to say whether a firearm is permissible on their property no?

      1. Boycotts are speech, that’s basic libertarian philosophy right there. The NRA urged its members to boycott in an attempt to influence a corporation to adopt their POV. That’s not a rights violation, anymore than the proggy “Delete Uber!” thing a couple weeks back was a rights violation.

        The NRA is not infringing upon the rights of ConPhil, the state is.

        1. The NRA is not infringing upon the rights of ConPhil, the state is.

          Which is exactly what Sullum said. He also said that the NRA supported the state’s violating of ConPhil’s rights.

          1. Do they? Again, a boycott is not a rights violation, or a support of a rights violation. It’s just a boycott.

            1. Um, yeah. If they’re boycotting the company because they challenged a law, then it’s pretty obvious that they support that law. I don’t know how you’re not getting this.

              1. It doesn’t matter *why* you boycott a company. You are not infringing on anyone’s rights when you do so. No one has a *right* to your purchasing from them instead of someone else.

            2. The boycott was in support of the law that violates the company’s rights to control its own property.

              So while you are technically correct, I think it is appropriate to call out the NRA for supporting a law that violates private property rights.

              1. Calling them out, yes. Legal penalties, no.

            3. Do they? Again, a boycott is not a rights violation, or a support of a rights violation. It’s just a boycott.

              The violation was the NRA backing laws that require private employers to allow firearms on the premises.

              As a (former) life member, I wrote a letter to the NRA complaining that their approach violates the Property Rights the employers. The response I received is that, “property does not have rights, therefore there is no such thing as ‘Property Rights’.”

              I immediately told them to remove me from their membership rolls.

              1. I favor the approach that allows businesses to dictate whether arms are allowed on their property – but also holds them STRICTLY LIABLE for any injury to any person who might have prevented injury by use of a firearm en route to, from or while on the property.

                So if you are going to Walmart, a Conoco gas station and the local supermarket, and you are attacked at Walmart, or the supermarket, Conoco becomes STRICTLY LIABLE for all injuries you sustain as a result of their decision to deprive you of your right to bear arms.

                Of course, anti-self-defense businesses might also provide free lockers for arms and let people check them in and out, in which case the liability would only attach during the time they were deprived of their arms.

                At least one state is working on enacting precisely this sort of legislation which gives proper support to both Second Amendment and self-defense rights and private property rights.

              2. Being in favor of something, no matter how wrong that belief may or may not be, does not, in and of itself, violate anyone’s rights. Your response was the proper one.

          2. Do they? Again, a boycott is not a rights violation, or a support of a rights violation. It’s just a boycott.

            1. You’re confusing this. The boycott is not the issue. The issue is the NRA’s support for the law forbidding the company from outlawing guns on company property. That law is what violates rights, not the boycott.

              1. Yeah, seems pretty simple to understand.

              2. I thought it was about keeping a gun in your car in the parking lot? The lot is their property, but the car is yours.

                1. But your car, as well as what is in it, *is* on their property. I think it’s a stupid and wrong position to take, but it *is* their right to decide what is allowed on their property. There are stores I won’t go into because they don’t allow weapons. They’ve lost my business (and one of them used to be my favorite book store – it wasn’t unusual for me to spend $150 when I went in) and I urge other people to stop patronizing them, but that is as far as I can take it.

      2. Just as much right as to say whether a black or homosexual is permissible on their property.
        Constitutional rights are constitutional rights.

      3. Do they also take responsibility to cover my right to self-defense or do I sacrifice that as well? If not, then fuck that noise they’re asking me to sacrifice my physical safety for their feels.

        I get that I can maybe go or work somewhere else but if I can’t decide who to serve for any reason I want in my establishment I shouldn’t be able to ban the exercise of a constitutional right unless there is a documented reason for concern over the physical well being of others.

        1. So, the proper response to your rights being violated in one area is to demand that others have their rights violated too?

          1. The proper response to your rights being violated in one area is to demand that the violator compensate in another way to reduce the impact of those rights being violated.

            If a person cannot exercise their natural right of self defense, by carrying a legal weapon in their vehicle on the public roads from their home to their place of employment, because their place of employment refuses to allow that harmless inanimate object on their property in any way, then that place of employment should be required to provide fair compensation or management to remedy that issue.
            The employer could maintain a security station with lockboxes for weapons. They could issue lockboxes for person car storage. They could do a number of things to mitigate the issue. All would likely be less cost than compliance with ADA or other HR type issues.

            NRA was absolutely right.

            1. No, NRA was wrong — corporations cannot remove Second Amendment rights because they only apply to governments.

              Can corporations prevent you from holding a political rally on their parking lot? Damned straight, first amendment or not.

              Can corporations prevent you from bringing a gun on to their parking lot? Damned straight.

              1. The NRA may be morally right, in that corporations that forbid you from bringing a gun on to their parking lot have some moral duty to protect you when they forbid you from protecting yourself. But it’s not a Second Amendment violation.

              2. Can corporations say “No blacks allowed.” on their property (as employees)?

                Can corporations say “No Catholics” or “Jews need not apply”?

                Can corporations contribute unlimited amounts to political campaigns?

                Can corporations say “Only cars with Republican bumper stickers may park in the parking lot?”

                Do you waive your 4th amendment rights to your car’s contents when it is parked in a corporate parking lot? Can the corporate property owner consent to LEO for a search of your car because it is on their lot?

                Can a corporate bakery refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding?

                1. You are right in those categories, *as applied by the Supreme Court*. But natural law allows such things, and the Supreme Court hasn’t carried its nannyism over to guns free speech and parking lots yet.

                2. They should be legally able to do all of those things, no matter how right or wrong they are in doing so in the eyes of others.

              3. No, I think you are incorrect. It is not the fact that they banned firearms from their property.

                It’s that the workers were then practically banned from carrying firearms to-and-from work…the impact extended past the workplace.

                The courts have given significant leeway to employees. While someone may decide to not patron a place of business, an employee has far less freedom of choice. Existing employees at the time of the ban had a significant impact on their life outside of work and no accommodation was made to mitigate that. All for a political point.

              4. Can corporations prevent you from holding a political rally on their parking lot? sure.

                Can corporations prevent you from having a trunkload of political rally signs in your personal vehicle on their parking lot? not so sure on that, Conan.

                1. Interesting difference with the political signs. The way around that is that corporation can’t ban you from having a gun in the trunk, but from opening the trunk to transfer the gun from your concealed holster to the trunk. Is that equivalent to moving a sign from your front seat to the trunk?

                  Regardless of all these quibbly games, it is still government coercion that makes them viable at all. You can’t get rational policy from the corruption of coercive government. In a sane society, these decisions would be entirely up to whatever policies employers have and whatever contracts there are between employers and employees.

        2. … or do I sacrifice that as well?

          /sigh/ If you choose to work for/visit a private enterprise with a no weapon policy, then yes.

          It is quite simple. You do not have a right to be employed/accommodated by any particular business. The business owners enjoy the right to set the rules for employment/patronage (unconstitutional public accommodation laws notwithstanding). If you do not agree with their rules, then you are free to take your labor/patronage elsewhere. Or, you may accept the limitations they place on you.

          It is fundamentally no different than dress codes, or speech codes for employees prohibiting proselytizing or solicitation.

      4. No. That’s a propertarian sentiment, not libertarian. When you open your property to the public, you are not admitting dogs or robots, but human beings who carry with them a broad bundle of rights. You have no particular justification for limiting what they say, or – with limited pragmatic exceptions – what they bring with them. If you are a propertarian, or some stripe of fascist, control freak, or whatever, you can screen entrants, or have them sign some contract on entry, but good luck running a business while trying to enforce this sort of thing. It’s dismaying to see so many people with (classical) liberal instincts succumb to plantation tactics, and try to justify it as “libertarian.”

        1. It’s very much a Libertarian position. You own the property, you decide who or what can and can’t be on it and under what conditions. Libertarians do not believe that simply by engaging in financial transactions with others it removes or reduces any of the rights that you have under any other circumstances.

      5. businesses (and private homeowners) have NO right to say what legal items a person can keep in their private automobile,even if parked on company property (or your driveway). They have no legal right to search your vehicle unless they have reasonable suspicion that you have some of their property or illegal contraband inside it. Actually,they have to call police to search the vehicle after making an affidavit (complaint).

        1. Correct, BUT they also have no legal obligation to allow you to park your vehicle on their property. Therefore, they can make a search of your vehicle a condition of your parking there, and kick you off as a trespasser if you don’t wish to consent to a search.

    3. Maybe you should read things twice before criticizing them.

      Jacob Sullum clearly stated that “when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights” is hogwash, because corporations cannot take away Second Amendment rights.

    4. You need to read it again. Jacob wasn’t arguing any such thing.

    5. As much as I am disgusted with the AMA and other organizations attempt to demonize guns, they do have a 1st Amendment right to do so. If you don’t protect free speech rights for those you oppose, then you don’t respect them for anyone.

  2. That wasn’t supposed to be a reply to the above comment.

  3. You can’t use government force to restrict peoples rights, however you can boycott anyone for any reason whether in hopes of changing their behavior or just because you don’t want to trade with them.

  4. 3 and 5 msy not be unconstitutional, but they may qualify as unlawful detention and fraud and are certainly not ptotected by the 1st Amendment.

    Futhermore the physician’s encouraging doctors to harass their patients on this issue is troubling.

  5. 7. What are the consequences of telling a pediatrician what he or she wants to hear in an effort of moving things along?

    1. He fixes the cable?

    2. You can tell your doctor anything you want. Do you drink heavily? No sir. Do you use illegal drugs? Hell no. Do you practice safe sex? Always. Do you let your kids play with your arsenal of weapons? What weapons? Doctors ain’t the law, you don’t have to be truthful if you think they can’t handle it.

      1. …and then there is principle and precedent to consider.

      2. the problem arises when the doc (or school teacher) asks your children if there are guns in their home. The kids may not know better,and tell. Or it may be your wife that tells.

    3. Well, if he happens to figure out that you or a family member have elevated blood lead levels and you blow it off because he hadn’t told you why he was asking, there’s a possibility that you and your family could suffer heavy metal poisoning. I’ve actually had to think about this because three of my hobbies hold the potential for non-trivial lead exposure. Not sure you have to get into caliber and make so much as frequency and duration of activities, but there are some legitimate reasons to ask. It’s not any of their business what or how I carry or maintain in the home, so long as I’m not pouring and handloading my own ammunition on the dinner table during dinner though.

  6. “ConocoPhillips cannot take away people’s Second Amendment rights any more than Florida doctors can.”

    That is absolutely correct, neither can take away 2A rights. BUT, based on my answers to my doctor, the state my take away my children. I agree the doctor has no business inquiring about my weapons, but if he does, my response of “Fuck off, Slaver” should be sufficient to end discussion. The doctor may not report any information to the state due to doctor-client privilege. And not that I would recommend it, but I would like to see a doctor sued, a la bakeries and florists, if s/he refuses my business based upon my exercising my 2A rights.

    1. “The doctor may not report any information to the state due to doctor-client privilege.”

      minor detail; the doctor records all of your data in a federally accessible data base, as required by the ACA. The confidentially is between the doctor and the government which pays him; not between you and the doctor. In theory, the feds need a warrant, but then, wikileaks does not.

      1. Nor does the Medical Information Bureau,which all of our insurance underwriters query when they want to issue policies.

      2. So here is an interesting nexus – if you are on medicaid/medicare and the DR. is asking pursuant to federal guidelines, is that sufficient to say now the DR. is acting as an agent of the gov’t and therefore has no 1st Amendment Right.

      3. if FEDGOV decided to do a gun confiscation,they would use a search engine to rifle through the doctors patient files for that datum (gun ownership),then search the state drivers license DB (also for concealed carry permit holders),and merge the two,creating a nice list of gun owners and their addresses. At that point,they’re not going to care if they have a warrant or not.

        AND,this still maintains the legal fiction of FEDGOV not having any “gun owners database” as prohibited by current law.

        1. They didn’t even need to do that. All they have to do is send a BATFE agent to ever gun store in America and have them retrieve their journal. THe 4473 is shredded after 90 days, but the record of the sale is kep for the length of the FFL. ANd if you surrender your FFL, the journal goes to BATFE. Don’t believe for a second the feds haven’t always had a record of who has the guns. Or who bought them at least.

    2. I would like to see a doctor sued, a la bakeries and florists, if s/he refuses my business based upon my exercising my 2A rights.

      Well, the article does say that the court upheld the portion of the law that forbids discrimination against gun owners, so you could sue if they refused. All in all it seems a correct decision, protecting doctor’s first amendment rights to say whatever they want while allowing gun owners to become part of the non-discrimination protected class.

    3. “The doctor may not report any information to the state due to doctor-client privilege”

      That is not true. A doctor may absolutely report any information to the state if they, in good faith, believe there is a risk of immediate danger.

      suicide, murder plot, having guns in a household with children…etc. etc.

      1. The definition of “danger” is surprisingly flexible depending on who you ask.

      2. In most States, their is a litany of things they are “required” to report to authorities – and thats not even counting the reporting to the feds information for statistical purposes.

  7. Why wasn’t an article ever written opposing the state forcing pregnancy centers to console about abortion? You guys wrote about the controversy, but didn’t take a position. So is compelled speech less egregious than silencing speech?

    1. I don’t know why that particular article has not been written (if it hasn’t – I don’t know that one way or the other), but the proper position should be that no, they can’t be forced to council about abortions.

  8. “a mother “was separated from her children while medical personnel…interrogated” them about firearm ownership and put information about such ownership in their medical records.”

    Assholes

    1. my kids are really young so i don’t want them in the room either if the doctor wants to ask me whether the guns are locked up or not or other gun-related questions. 1. because i don’t want my kids to know yet, and 2. because some questions may get an expletive-laden response inappropriate for my kids’ ears.

      1. Oh I thought they were interrogating the children. That’s what I get for skimming:)

        1. The use of “them” does seem to indicate that they were asking the children. I don’t think the article suggests otherwise.

  9. I suppose the 11th Circuit’s opinion might make sense in some alternate universe where medicine is a private business, and patients go to the doctor and pay fees out of their (the patient’s) own money, or else get private insurance or mutual-aid-societies or private charity to pay the really heavy fees, and where and where government’s role in medicine is simply to prevent fraudulent service, botched surgeries, or homicide under cover of legitimate medicine.

    In such a world, when Dr. Welby comes to Joe Sixpack for his annual house call, and says Joe has to talk about his guns or Dr. Welby will stop treating him, Joe can then fire Welby and hire Dr. Buford Goodolboy, who comes by Joe’s house to do his annual checkups and then Joe and Buford go off huntin’.

    Meanwhile, in *this* world…

    Medicine is not only heavily regulated by government, in many key aspects Big Medicine works hand in glove with government – doctors and hospitals and insurance companies get various benefits and subsidies, and in turn have to abide by various regulations which made the scenario I outlined above illegal or very difficult.

    And most people have extensive medical records, which the government (presumably with a warrant) can get access to. “Hmmm…I wonder if Joe Sixpack has guns and if so how many he has…let’s check his medical record…”

    1. I don’t see what is impossible or illegal in the scenario you outline. You can change doctors, lie to them or refuse to answer their questions now.

    2. This is where I am on this. I don’t celebrate when the government inserts itself into an issue and then makes the whole thing a mess.

    3. So you’re fine with the federal contractor non-discrimination order, yes? Same logic supplies: they’re effectively agents of the state, and this are bound as though the level of indirection wasn’t there.

    4. FEDGOV under Comrade Obama was accessing peoples IRS records despite not having any warrant,then they leaked the info to others for political hatchet jobs.

      All it takes to do a search of patient medical files is a few keystrokes by some FEDGOV bureaucrat,no warrant needed if they’re going to use it illegally anyways.

  10. A pediatrician in Ocala had reportedly told a mother that she would have to find a new physician for her child due to her refusal to disclose information about firearm ownership in the family home.

    Shut your hole doc and bake me a glock cake.

    1. Goddamit. How is it possible two geniuses post simultaneously? I blame by absurdly long-winded handle.

      1. *by = my

    2. my standard answer if asked is “no,I have no guns”.(with a straight face)
      it’s none of their business.

  11. “A pediatrician in Ocala had reportedly told a mother that she would have to find a new physician for her child due to her refusal to disclose information about firearm ownership in the family home.”

    I smell a lawsuit. If a baker can be compelled, surely something as important as medical treatments cannot be denied by a provider.

  12. It’s my understanding that the doctors forfeited their free speech rights when they charged for their services.

    1. It’s my understanding that the doctors forfeited their free speech rights when they charged for their services.

      Well, to be more accurate, maintaining their medical license depends on certain conduct; they’re free to exercise their right to free speech, but (under current law), there is no requirement for government to maintain their license.

  13. Surely no one answers questions about their home security honestly!
    No doctor has yet asked me about gun ownership, possibly because my youngest kid is 30 years old and lives on the other side of the country. But if they ever do, I will not answer truthfully. I figure any one asking about gun ownership, or the kind of locks I use, or how many baseball bats I have, is casing the joint for a burglary, and lie my heart out. You want to know if I have guns? Come through the window at 3AM.

    1. The issue is predominantly one with pediatricians. Children of a certain age will say all sorts of things that mom and dad don’t want publicized.
      If that pediatrician is able to violate patient confidentiality under certain loose circumstances, it becomes essentially a law enforcement interview.

      “Yeh, dad has a gazillion guns. Yeh, we shoot sometimes. I like the rapid fire ones and dad has really big magazines that hold lots of bullets. No, they aren’t locked up. Yes, I know where dad keeps everything”
      None of those things are illegal, none is an inherent risk or child abusive situation. All are quite normal across much of the country. But there are quite a few doctors who would be on the phone to CPS which would be at the parents doorstep.
      That is fugged up and a complete violation of medical practice due to overt government influence. There is no 1st amendment violation at all. In a normal world, the doctor would lose their license for violating patient confidentiality.

  14. response: “i don’t talk about my specific guns and their security in front of my kids, asshole”

    1. better to just say no,and avoid any unpleasantness. Warn your kids (and wife) beforehand that to open their yap about it is to be SEVERELY punished. Same as if they told any stranger that their dad has guns. Make sure they KNOW that info is NOT for other people to know,PERIOD….or else.

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  16. Once the docs give up the state sponsored cartel, we can all take this much more seriously. In the interim, pound sand.

  17. While I don’t particularly like that law, it seems well supported by precedent: doctors are government-licensed professionals, so what they can and cannot say in their professional capacity is subject to regulation already. For example, doctors are not free to use their position of authority to proselytize, compliment, or insult patients. Ordinary people are free to recommend and discuss quack medicine, but when doctors speak and don’t want to lose their license, they have to stay within professional bounds.

    Government has granted physicians special powers that nobody else has, and it can certainly make those powers conditional on certain behaviors. That is, a doctor is free to discuss guns or the immorality of abortion with their patients, but government can then withdraw the license because they are not living up to the standards of their profession.

    If you consider this a problem and a conflict with the 1A, the conflict doesn’t arise from making licensing conditional on certain conduct and speech, it arises from having licensing in the first place. But as long as we have licensing, it can be tied to speech restriction, and we’re just discussing which restrictions are reasonable.

    1. ^^^ exactly.

      Doctors are not just private businesspeople. In many areas they are de facto agents of the state, similarly to teachers.

      1. This is indeed a/the problem. Someone here?might’ve been Jacob too?discussed the issue in cx with conscience clauses re pharmacists & abortifacients or some such. Depending how restrictive licensing is, at some point we’d probably agree the licensees need to be restricted like public utilities?but some of us would put that point in a different place from others of us. In other words, sometimes a 2nd-best freedom-of-choice solution is better than what superficially appears to be 1st-best?& would be 1st-best if there’d been no restriction on 1 end to begin w.

  18. It was my understanding that the ACA was requiring doctors to ask about gun. if its required its not a 1st amend issue it becomes a patient privacy issue especially since guns have nothing to do with health

    1. If that’s true, then it’s 10,000 miles away from a first amendment issue.

    2. Exactly. Apperantly its a “1st Amendment Issue” when you compell Doctors to shut the fuck up about guns, but not when you compell them to ask about them, or require they report their “findings” for statistical puposes.

  19. Since this article speaks about boycotts, I want to address a slightly off-topic issue that I just learned about here in my good-old home state of New Jersey.

    We now have a crime called “criminal coercion.” It is a crime in New Jersey if someone, “with purpose unlawfully to restrict another’s freedom of action to engage or refrain from engaging in conduct,” among other things, brings about or continues a strike, boycott or other collective action, except when the strike or boycott occurs in labor negotiations.

    This means that the social media-based boycotts that have become so popular, such as the boycott the NRA organized against ConocoPhilips, are potentially crimes in New Jersey.

    1. Was New Jersey one of those states discouraging people from going to North Carolina over the bathroom controversy? Maybe the entire state can arrest itself.

    2. I think it’s also a Federal crime or at least a treaty violation to boycott Israel, and perhaps a couple of other countries.

  20. Doctors are required by law to report suspected child abuse.

    I’m having a tough time with this one because the left fucking started this shit by demanding the AMA turn Gun Violence into a disease like Influenza. I’m always reluctant to pass a law forcing a person to say this or that in the context of their professional duties, but when political forces get this stuff inserted into your daily life, people tend to react.

    If only there were some way or some philosophy where we just left everyone the fuck alone.

    1. +1 Libertarian Moment(tm)

  21. 4.One doctor refused to treat a child because he wanted to know if there were firearms in the home.

    A child wanted to now if there were firearms in the home, & that was cause not to treat him?

    1. Nosy kid should keep his nose out of the Doc’s biznass!

  22. As for patients who object to questions about gun ownership, the appeals court says, they are not required to answer them, and they are free to choose less inquisitive doctors.

    Unfortunately they also ruled that doctors are not free to choose less inquisitive patients.

    1. But you can only choose less inquisitive doctors who are in the cabal of your insurance “network”. Who all are forced to agree to the same “treatment” protocols to save the insurance companies money, and will all ask the same questions. So just lie and be done with it.

  23. I don’t really understand the impetus for laws like this.

    If my PCP starts inquiring about the guns in my home, I tell him that it’s none of his business. If he tries to argue with me, I tell him that I’m almost certainly better versed in the relevant medical literature than he is, to the point that I can explain to him in glorious technicolor detail precisely why the AMA and AAP are completely full of shit on the subject, and that while his advice might be well-meaning it’s also incompetent, and therefore unwelcome. If that’s still not enough to get him to shut up, I walk out of the appointment and find a new PCP who’s not a giant asshole. Problem solved.

    1. And what happens when he notes it in your records, submitted to your insurer and possibly a government agency, that you are a obstinant gun-owner who isn’t cooperating or heeding his medical advice, and then your premiums magically go up, or some other benefit gets altered as a result….

      1. The only thing he can conceivably note in my records, and submit to my insurer and possibly a government agency, is that I refused to answer his questions about guns. And if my insurer or a government agency takes some adverse action against me based on that, I’ll get to enjoy suing the fuck out of them and cashing the extravagant damages checks.

        1. And the Easter Bunny will be in the next cell – – – – –

  24. The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

  25. Doctors are killing 2,450% more Americans than all gun-related deaths combined

    http://newstarget.com/2016-08-…..bined.html

  26. As long as Doctor’s are allowed to take “no comment’ as an answer, and cannot take any punitive measures, or inform anyone that can, then I agree.

    Otherwise, go fuck yourself, Sullum.

  27. Dr. “Do you and your family have firearms in the home?”
    Pt. “Do you and your family wear bulletproof vests in the home?”
    Dr. “There are risks in gun ownership.”
    Pt. “And there are risks in asking inappropriate questions.”

  28. a major problem with doctors asking about guns in the home is that such information is recorded in the doctor’s patient files,and under the ACA(Obamacare),those records are accessible by FEDGOV. this gives FEDGOV the ability to have a list of gun owner WITHOUT violating current laws prohibiting any gun owners database. Because same as state drivers licenses,FEDGOV has the ability to search the state or doctor’s files at any time,so when they need their gun owners list,they use their search program,and it spits out their list on the spot,not using any Federal database. it’s an “end-around”,and violates the intent of the law.
    Second,the CDC was prohibited from doing “gun violence” studies,because that’s a criminology matter,not within the expertise or function of the CDC,their purpose is for MEDICAL matters. (Besides the FBI and DOJ already doing the same studies;a wasteful duplication of effort).But this doctors gun owner data is another end-around that restriction.

  29. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned a censorious Florida law that tried to stop doctors from pestering their patients about guns

    When the medical mafia stops shaking me down with their government enabled monopoly rent seeking and control, I may give a shit about their rights.

    Until then, fuck doctors and their first amendment rights with rusty pipe.

    Vote Woodchipper!

  30. a LOT of people here want to tell their doctor to “take a hike” ,MYOB,or other adverse reaction to the question of their having guns. NOT smart. The best thing is to just say “no”,and avoid any problem. Yes,it’s none of their business,but going the hostile route tells them you likely DO have guns,and they may make note of that,and then FEDGOV knows. But say no,and then the matter is dropped,…unless you run into him/her at the gun range or at Wal-Mart with ammo in your cart.
    Don’t forget,the docs most likely to be asking that question are the anti-gun doctors,the busybodies. They might even make some note that you have anger-management or “psych” problems. it’s counter-productive. Play poker,no “tells”,don’t telegraph your real situation. it’s a “police-state” type of question,and you don’t give anything up to them.

  31. this:
    “requests for information about guns were not unconstitutional, since the Second Amendment applies only to the government.”

    WHERE in the text of that Second Article of Ammendment does it restrct the “shall not be infringed” to “by government”? Nowhere, that’s where. It says simply “SHALL NOT BE”. that means NO ONE shall infringe. If those wise and insightful Framers meant “by government” they wore britches big enough to enable them to SAY SO. the fact they did not say so proves they had no such restriction in view.

    1. First and foremost, it’s “Amendment”. Secondly, it’s not the second article, it’s the fourth; the second article is “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” Third, look up the state-action doctrine. Private property rights are there for a reason.

    2. Everything in the Constitution and its amendments refers only to what the government can and can’t do, not what private citizens acting in their private capacity can and can’t do.

  32. Doctor: Do you have any guns in the house?

    Father: Yeah, but I already thought about putting the kid out his misery, but it seemed to make more sense to see if you could give him an antibiotic or something first.

    1. CPS Knocking at your door…

  33. I would feel super sketched out about a doctor asking questions like these TO MY KID if I had one.

    It’s also out of line for the government to tell doctors they can’t bring it up, free speech and all that jazz.

    I feel like a better tailored law might be acceptable though. Something like a doctor must state in advance of any questions: You have no obligation to answer these questions, but I’m going to ask anyway, blah blah blah disclaimer.

    I don’t like the idea of forcing a doctor to HAVE to treat people who won’t answer the questions as far as principles go either… But on a personal level it would be far creepier to have a doctor who refused to treat your kids because you wouldn’t tell them if you own guns.

    God, what is wrong with some people in this country where this is even A THING that has to be thought about. I really wish I’d been born during the depression like my grandparents…

  34. Your article completely ignores the facts that the doctors (1) are licensed by the State and as such are part of a State-enforced monopoly; and (2) are using a position of authority to try to compel behavior about which they have no expertise.

    Such behavior is unethical.

  35. Better headline:

    Threats to the 2nd Amendment lead to threats to the 1st Amendment.

  36. “since the Second Amendment applies only to the government”

    Since the doctors are fulfilling Medicaid requirements, aren’t they acting as government agents?

  37. Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, enacted in 2011, was a response to complaints that pediatricians and family practitioners had become excessively nosy about guns in the homes of their patients. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, ????? ????? ????? ???? and the American Academy of Family Physicians encourage their members to ask parents about guns, treating them as hazards analogous to alcohol, swimming pools, and poisonous household chemicals. Sometimes gun owners object to such inquiries, especially if they seem to be colored by a moralistic anti-gun ideology. The 11th Circuit’s decision describes half a dozen examples that influenced Florida’s legislators:

  38. I looked at the check for $8628 , I didnt believe that…my… father in law was like actualie taking home money in there spare time on there computar. . there sisters roommate haz done this for under 17 months and just cleard the morgage on there apartment and got a gorgeous Chevrolet Corvette . go to websit========= http://www.net.pro70.com

  39. Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, enacted in 2011, was a response to complaints that pediatricians and family practitioners had become excessively nosy about guns in the homes of their patients. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, ????
    ????? ?????????? and the American Academy of Family Physicians encourage their members to ask parents about guns, treating them as hazards analogous to alcohol, swimming pools, and poisonous household chemicals. Sometimes gun owners object to such inquiries, especially if they seem to be colored by a moralistic anti-gun ideology. The 11th Circuit’s decision describes half a dozen examples that influenced Florida’s legislators:

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