As the Florida House debated two measures to expand Florida's gun laws on Wednesday, a federal appeals court vacated a ruling that upheld a controversial 2011 Florida law restricting doctors from asking questions and recording information about patients’ gun ownership.
In the one-page ruling, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to grant an en banc hearing to reconsider a 2-1 decision that upheld the controversial law in July.
The hearing means that the full 11-member panel will rehear the case decided by three of its members. The court generally conducts en banc hearings in cases considered matters of exceptional public importance or to resolve conflicts in the law.
The hearing is a victory for medical groups that argued that the law infringed on doctors’ First Amendment rights and is a setback to the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates who pushed for the law.
"Under the Eleventh Circuit Rule 35, the effect of granting rehearing en banc is to vacate the previous opinion and judgment of this court and to stay the mandate,'' the court wrote. Download 'Docs and Glocks' Order Granting Rehearing En Banc
Dubbed the “Docs vs. Glocks” law and signed by Gov. Rick Scott, it subjects health care providers to possible sanctions, including fines and loss of license, if they discuss or record information in a patient’s chart about firearms safety that a medical board later determined was not “relevant” or was “unnecessarily harassing.” The law, however, did not define these terms.
The Florida Department of Health appealed her summary judgment and it was overturned by the appeals court in July 2014. In July 2015 the court upheld that decision.
Photo: David Proeber AP