States seek to penalize doctors who ask about guns

Three states are considering making it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they have a gun at home, pitting those who say the questions violate patients’ Second Amendment rights against those who say restricting the questions would violate the First Amendment, Rita Rubin of USA Today reports.

The Florida legislature has already passed a bill that calls for fining health care providers $500 for the first violation. The governor is expected to sign it, Rubin reports. Similar bills are in the works in Alabama and North Carolina.

Doctors who ask about gun ownership say they do so out of concern for safety, not because they oppose gun ownership, but critics say the questions violates ethical boundaries and warn that physician groups are seeking to ban firearms, Rubin reports. One doctor told her there’s proof in a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that says that “the absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries.”