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State Seeks To Clear Way For Doctor-Patient Gun Law

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Attorney General Pam Bondi's office argued this week that a potential challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court should not prevent the state from carrying out a law aimed at restricting doctors from asking questions about patients' gun ownership.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July upheld the controversial law --- dubbed the "docs vs. glocks" law.

Opponents last month asked the full appeals court to hear the case. If that request is rejected, the opponents indicated they will take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2011 law has effectively remained on hold during the lengthy legal battle. If the case ultimately goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, opponents contend the law should remain on hold.

But in a filing Monday with the appeals court, Bondi's office rejected that argument, saying a legal stay should be lifted.

"(Opponents) argue only that denying a stay would 'impair the doctor-patient relationship,' and would 'eliminate --- or at the very least sharply limit—doctors' standard practice of preventive medicine,' '' the filing said. "But they offer only speculation that this would occur."

The law includes a series of restrictions on doctors and other health providers.

For example, it seeks to prevent physicians from entering information about gun ownership into medical records if the physicians know the information is not "relevant" to patients' medical care or safety or to the safety of other people.

Also, the law says doctors should refrain from asking about gun ownership by patients or family members unless the doctors believe in "good faith" that the information is relevant to medical care or safety.

Also, the law seeks to prevent doctors from discriminating against patients or "harassing" them because of owning firearms.