Florida House may pass bill that limits a doctor asking if patients own a gun

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But pediatricians are still opposed. And that was why Democrat Luis Garcia from Miami, who says he's a gun owner, remains opposed as well. Democrat Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek said for those who don't have kids, they might not understand that it's a pediatrician's job is to make sure kids are safe. "This is the first move in silencing pediatricians," he warned.

Miami area Democrat Dwight Bullard pressed Brodeur to tell how many cases he knew of a doctor inappropriately asking a patient if he owned a gun.

"How many do you need to stop a violation of civil rights?" Brodeur replied.

Bullard, who is black, sarcastically replied that he appreciated Brodeur's concerns for civil rights, prompting House Speaker Dean Cannon, standing literally above the House floor in his elevated position, to mildly chide Bullard. But that didn't stop him from then asking, "Is this an epidemic happening 200 to 300 times?"

Brodeur then brought up a couple of specific cases he said were "well documented," before reiterating that he was simply trying to protect civil rights.

But as with every single vote that comes up before the House or the Senate in Florida, there will always be more Republicans in support of a bill than Democrats in opposition.

North Florida Representative Charles Van Zant, 67, angrily said that he has eight grandchildren who will be trained in gun safety, and "each of them looks forward to holding a gun." He dismissed the idea of a pediatrician asking about gun ownership, saying a far greater health care concern would be if they encouraged gun ownership and gun safety. "I come from North Florida," he concluded. "Where the murder rate is very high in Jacksonville and a well-armed citizenry is necessary."


Among the many issues Floridians want their politicians to work on (with the unemployment rate running higher than the nationwide standard), it's hard to believe that the question of whether doctors can ask patients if they own firearms would be one of them.

Yet the Florida House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval for a measure that would limit when a doctor can ask patients whether they have a gun at home. House sponsor Jason Brodeur of Fort Myers introduced the bill and said that the Florida Medical Association and the National Rifle Association had come to an agreement in supporting it.

The FMA had originally opposed it, but apparently changed its stance when the bill was changed to allow physicians to ask about guns when they believe it's relevant to a patient's health care.

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