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Doctors take aim at NRA bill

This alert was recently sent out to the Florida Medical Association's members, presaging a special-interest free-for-all as it tussles with the NRA over its bill banning doctor inquiries about gun ownership.

Dear Colleagues,
As you have probably heard, there is legislation moving in the Florida Legislature, SB 432 and HB 155, which is a major intrusion into the patient-physician relationship. These bills place the government in the middle of the relationship between doctors and our patients by regulating what questions physicians can ask during a private medical examination. This legislation criminalizes doctors who ask their patients about gun ownership to ascertain accurate and complete patient history as well as advise patients on gun safety. The bill also prohibits physicians from discharging a patient from his or her practice based on the patient’s refusal to answer a question. This is an inappropriate intrusion of government into the bond that exists between doctors and their patients. The FMA is adamantly opposed to these bills.

We urge you to contact your hometown legislators today and tell them that physicians strongly oppose SB 432 and HB 155 because it puts the government in the middle of the private relationship between physicians and their patients. At a time when we are facing a physician shortage and competing with other states to retain and attract physicians, HB 155 sends the wrong message. This legislation, if passed, would make Florida the only state in the nation to pass such an extreme measure and would send the message to doctors all over the country that Florida is an unfriendly place to practice medicine.
Click here to contact your legislator.
The FMA believes that the relationship between a doctor and a patient is at the core of the practice of medicine and is essential for the delivery of quality health care in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The patient-physician relationship forms one of the foundations of medical ethics. In medical school, we are taught from the beginning to maintain a professional rapport with patients, uphold patients’ dignity, and respect their privacy. Where such a relationship is poor, the physician's ability to make a full assessment is compromised and the patient is more likely to distrust the diagnosis and proposed treatment. When a patient is uncomfortable with the questions asked by a physician, it is their right to seek treatment from another physician.  Likewise, if a physician is not comfortable with a patient, it is his or her right to discharge the patient from their practice. Government should not interfere.
The proponents of this legislation contend that the privacy of gun owners is their main focus. However, a physician inquiry of their patients about gun ownership is only one of a battery of questions that patients or the parents of pediatric patients are asked during routine examinations. Most of these questions asked by physicians are informational and an important part of a patient’s medical history, which remain private. Physicians are trained to counsel on many scenarios relating to a patient’s health and well being and are not inquiring about personal information as a basis to pass judgment or push any political agenda. Legal measures are already in place to ensure that the information patients share with physicians will be kept confidential. Patients are also NOT required to answer any questions they feel uncomfortable with, which alleviates any suggestion of invasion of a patient’s privacy.
Today, we have sent a letter to the sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, Representative Jason Brodeur, as well as letters to both the House Speaker and the President of the Senate expressing the FMA’s opposition to SB 432 and HB 155. In addition to contacting your own legislators, we also urge you to contact the bill’s sponsors and register your opposition to this inappropriate expansion of government into the patient-physician relationship.  

Contact the bill's sponsors by emailing Jason Brodeur at jason.brodeur@myfloridahouse.gov or Greg Evers at greg.evers.web@flsenate.gov

Madelyn E. Butler, M.D.,
FMA President


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Truth and Freedom

SB 432 and HB 155 are good and needed legislation. The American Association of Pediatrics is very anti-gun/self-defense to the point of saying that firearms should not be in the home. AAP also encourages its members to ask many Nanny State questions -- wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts along with firearms ownership and storage in the home -- unrelated to disease and medicine. Many adults can and should tell them that it is none of their business but children are most unlikely to do so. Accordingly, hopefully SB 432 and HB 155 will pass and be enacted into law. Readers should contact their state legislators and urge them to support these bills.


The questioning of children has been going on for years without the knowledge of parents. It happened to me and needless to say I was "somewhat irrate" This bill is being misrepresented by those trying to take away the Constitutional Right to bear arms. My pediatrician (whom I like and respect) told me questions about guns in the house were asked of ALL the children he, his ARNP's and PA's see. "Johnny are there guns in your house?" Do you know where they are stored?" Do you know how many and what kind of guns are in the house?" EHR (Electronic Health Records) are coming this year. Dr's and practices will be paid 21K the first year to convert to EHR with additional payments up to 60K over the next 5 years. Information about guns in the house at the fingertips of insurance and government representatives. What happens when a computer is lost or stolen? See this link from year 2000. This is a back door political agenda imposed on CHILDREN and parents by the American Association of Pediatricians.

Hope this bill is passed and signed ASAP. Don't think that those in the medical field cannot be part of a political agenda. SB 432 allows for physician questioning patients with a "need to know" What it prevents is pediatricians with an agenda, from questioning your children without your knowledge.


I guess I shouldn't be appalled that the FMA doesn't even portray the bill accurately or the basis of the bill. It was initiated in reponse to pediatrician's asking YOUNG CHILDREN about guns in the home (without parental knowledge or consent) "Patients are not required to answer questions which they feel uncomfortable with?" Does that include young vulnerable children? The Miami Herald does a disservice to it's readers by allowing false, misrepresenting, and misleading information to be published by the FMA. Shame on you FMA.

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