Court overturns Florida law on physician gun talks with patients: 4 things to know

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A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled Florida physicians may discuss gun safety with patients, reports The New York Times.

Here are four things to know.

1. The ruling from the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which was 10-1, overturns a 2011 Florida law. The law states physicians could lose their licenses or face fines for talking about gun ownership and gun habits with patients or their families, according to the report.

2. In its ruling, the court concluded the law violated physicians' free speech, according to the report.

"Florida does not have carte blanche to restrict the speech of doctors and medical professionals on a certain subject without satisfying the demands of heightened scrutiny," the majority wrote in its decision, reports The New York Times.

3. The case stems from a lawsuit in which the medical community contended questions about gun storage were crucial to public health due to the relationship between firearms and both suicide rates and gun-related deaths of children, according to the report.

4. Andrew Gurman, MD, president of the American Medical Association, praised the court ruling.

"Open communication between patients and physicians is essential to medical care and must be protected from legislative gag orders. The court ruling is a clear victory against censorship of private medical discussions between patients and physicians. The State of Florida cannot ignore constitutional rights by limiting the free speech necessary for the practice of medicine," Dr. Gurman said in a statement.

For more on this story, read Lizette Alvarez's full report here.

 

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