AMA Files Appellate Brief in 'Gun Gag' Case

The state of Florida has appealed a lower court decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The American Medical Association on Nov. 5 filed an amicus brief opposing the state of Florida's attempt to preserve a state law preventing doctors from asking patients and families about guns in their homes. Joining AMA to file the brief were nine medical specialty societies, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.

"The Act singles out health care practitioners, including the members of the medical profession, for regulation, and it causes an immediate and concrete modification of physicians’ ability to communicate freely in their medical practices," the brief states.

It asks the court to uphold a lower court decision from September 2011 that ruled the "gun gag law" was unconstitutional. "Lawmakers cannot insert the state into the patient-physician relationship by dictating, prohibiting, or threatening the open communication between patient and physician," said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D. "The AMA will vigorously defend the patient-physician relationship and the free speech necessary for the practice of medicine."

According to AMA, studies show that patients who receive physician counseling on firearm safety are more likely to adopt safe gun-storage practices.

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