“This case concerns one of our Constitution’s most precious rights — the freedom of speech. A practitioner who counsels a patient on firearm safety, even when entirely irrelevant to medical care or safety, does not affect or interfere with the patient’s right to continue to own, possess or use firearms.”
The law had been challenged in court by Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. As of Thursday morning, Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has not said whether or not they will appeal Judge Cooke's decision.
In St. Petersburg, RIck Kriseman, who hosted a news conference with a group of doctors at All Children's Hospital denouncing the legislation which he termed unnecessary and "silly," said the ruling was not just a victory for the medical community and for those who seek their care, "but for common sense."
"As the sponsor of the bill to repeal this dangerous and misguided law, I am extremely pleased with this ruling and applaud Judge Cooke for recognizing the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship," he said in a statement.
A completely opposing view was expressed by Greg Evers, the Republican state Senator from Baker who sponsored the bill in the Florida Senate this year. He said he was "appalled" by the ruling.
"What's more important — the First or the Second Amendment? I thought we supported all the constitutional amendments," he said. "I didn't know we picked and chose the ones we want."
Evers said his bill did not prevent doctors from asking questions because of a specific safety concern. It does prohibit doctors from including inquiries about gun ownership on general questionnaires.
"It's up to (the courts) to interpret the laws that we pass," he said. "We can take it all the way to the Supreme Court."
Evers said if that didn't happen, he would rewrite the bill in a manner that would pass constitutional muster.
Dr. Mona Mongat, who is the regional director for the progressive group Doctors for America, and is board certified certified in allergy/immunology, pediatrics and internal medicine, said Tuesday at a news conference that she had yet to meet a single doctor who thought the legislation was worthy, and predicted it would be struck down in the courts.
"To criminalize the free speech between the doctor and the patient protected by the honor and the oath of our profession and, more importantly, by the First amendment of the U.S Constitution, is wrong."