ANOTHER WIN FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN FLORIDA I did not realize this until today. Doctors in Georgia ask parents of patients whether they have firearms in the home. In the past, some citizens in Florida have had to undergo a barrage of gun ownership questions by their doctor. Not anymore. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently made a ruling that protects patients’ 2nd Amendment rights and their privacy. The Court lifted a barrier that had blocked enforcement of Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act. (The Act). This was actually the second time that The Act has been upheld. The Act bars doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, or keeping records on patients’ gun ownership, unless medically necessary. According to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the law was originally passed after an alleged escalating series of events where patients were harassed or denied access to services because they refused to be asked by their doctors about their ownership of firearms when it wasn’t relevant to the patients’ care. The Court upheld The Act saying, “The essence of the Act is simple: Medical practitioners should not record information or inquire about patients’ firearm-ownership status when doing so is not necessary to providing the patient with good medical care.” However, the Act does not ban a doctor from talking about firearms. The Court went on to say that the Act “protects a patient’s ability to receive effective medical treatment without compromising the patient’s privacy with regard to matters unrelated to healthcare…..The State (meaning Florida) made the commonsense determination that inquiry about firearm ownership, a topic which many of its citizens find highly private, falls outside the bounds of good medical care to the extent the physician knows such inquiry to be entirely irrelevant to the medical care or safety of a patient or any person.” You may think that organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would applaud laws that uphold the Constitution. Unfortunately, the ACLU picks and chooses which Constitutional rights are important and which are not. The Florida ACLU opposed The Act. A spokesperson for the ACLU said “This is a conflict contrived by the NRA. They should be as strong on gun safety as they are on defending the right to own and possess a weapon. Talking about gun safety is no threat to gun ownership. Guns, especially in a home with children, are a public health concern. Doctors need to encourage their safe storage to protect families. Given the number of accidental shootings when a child finds an unsecured gun or even brings the weapon to school, offering advice on firearm safety is the duty of every medical practitioner.” This is an important victory if you live in Florida. First, a federal appellate court has once again stressed the importance of civil rights bestowed by God; the right of gun owners and their families to keep and bear arms. This trend of upholding cherished Constitutional rights has been consistent in a number of states. Second, gun owners’ privacy interests are being protected. Third, patients and doctors can now strengthen the doctor/patient relationship because the patient knows that they will not be questioned, lectured or put on record by an increasingly governmentally run medical system. If you live in Georgia, or another state, I am unaware of any protections afforded citizens into the unnecessary intrusion into their lives.