Less than a month before Florida hosts the Republican National Convention, the state’s right-wing governor is pushing for an unusual law that privileges the Second Amendment over the First Amendment. Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that his administration will pursue a court appeal to defend the state’s controversial “Docs vs. Glocks” law, which makes it a crime for doctors to ask patients if they own guns.
The 2011 “Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act”—one of a series of NRA-backed, aggressive pro-gun laws passed by Florida’s conservative Legislature in recent years—aims at keeping physicians from gathering information on patients’ weapons while discussing their health risk factors. (Decades of studies have shown that even law-abiding, responsible gun owners and their families have higher risks of death by gunshot when they keep a firearm in the home.)
“Patients don’t like being interrogated about whether or not they own guns when they take their child with a sore throat to a pediatrician, nor do they like being interrogated in an emergency room when their Little Leaguer broke his leg sliding into first base,” the NRA’s gun for hire in Florida, longtime firearms lobbyist Marion Hammer, told the Tampa Tribune last fall.
That last quote cracks me up: “People don’t like being interrogated about whether or not they own guns.”
Perhaps not, but they probably also don’t like being asked about their sex life, their drinking and smoking habits, or whether they do illegal drugs. I don’t like having to get a pelvic exam. I imagine men don’t like having their prostates checked. Colonoscopies kinda suck, from what I’ve heard. Also, most gun owners are quite proud to crow about owning one or more weapons, in my experience here in the gun-toting south. We are ALL armed down here, if only to protect ourselves from the other gun nuts. Well, maybe not all of us, but still…don’t assume we’re NOT armed!
When I take my kid for a checkup, the doctor asks whether or not we have guns in the house. I say yes. He says please keep them locked away from the kids because of the risk of accidental injury or death if they play with one. I say okay. No judgement, no scolding, no “interrogation.” I feel more shame telling him how many hours of TV my kids watch any given day, and the fact that I regularly allow them to eat processed foods and refined sugar. He definitely lectures me about that stuff, but guns…no big deal. This is YET ANOTHER distraction from issues of real importance, not to mention another example of government intrusion into our lives-something the modern GOP claims to be against. From regulating our bodies and sex lives to doctor/patient confidentiality, Republicans love to micro-manage our private lives.