Doctors opposing a law that prevents them from talking to patients about guns filed briefs this week in an appeals court. As Matt Galka tells us, the ongoing legal fight looks to be continued on the federal level.
A group of doctors are hoping a law imposing a gag order on them preventing conversations about gun ownership with patients gets ruled unconstitutional in an appeals court. Pediatrician Louis St. Petery says it’s a doctor’s job to talk to patients about potential risks – whether it’s with gun ownership or drowning hazards of a pool.
“The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC encourage physicians to have discussions with parents of kids about safety issues,” he said.
The NRA is taking the state’s side and says that politics don’t belong in the doctor’s office. National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer says a doctor’s personal agenda shouldn’t be imposed onto patients.
“It doesn’t keep them from passing out brochures if they’re concerned about safety, but they should not single out gun owners and try to tell them to get rid of their guns or that they shouldn’t own them,” she said.
Dr. St Petery says no doctor is telling patients to ban the weapons.
“Doctors are telling parents if you have a gun then it needs to be properly stored,” he said.
The law was passed in 2011 and has been in and out of courtrooms since as doctors have been challenging it as an unconstitutional infringement on their first amendment rights.
The group opposed to the law said that brochures don’t go far enough because there’s no guarantees patients will read them. They say verbal communication has a better effect.