Hey, maybe we have a RIGHT to be interrogated by doctors about our guns

Hey, maybe we have a RIGHT to be interrogated by doctors about our guns

[Ed. – Making all this nonsense go away is pretty simple.  Get back to the federalism and the limits on central government intended by the Framers of the Constitution.]

The Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a Florida statute that restricted the freedom of doctors to inquire about their patients’ possession of firearms. One can understand why a legislature would want to spare patients from being badgered with a controversial political agenda by their physicians. But people are free to avoid doctors who offend them, and judicial decisions enforcing the First Amendment almost always force some people to be subjected to speech they’d rather not hear. …

If one disagrees with the Eleventh Circuit, it would seem that one must also reject the Ninth Circuit decision upholding California’s ban on so-called gay conversion therapy. This statute forbids mental health providers from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with patients under the age of 18. …

Noah Feldman, who likes the California law and dislikes the Florida law, apparently recognizes that the First Amendment requires the same answer in both cases. He therefore chucks that out in favor of a new approach: communications between a medical professional and a patient should instead “be evaluated through a distinct constitutional lens: the lens of privacy.”

Although the Florida statute allows physicians to ask about firearms if the information is “relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” Feldman objects that one school of thought holds that gun ownership is itself a public health problem and that physicians are practicing medicine when they try to combat this supposed epidemic. Voilà! The real problem with the Florida statute is that it intrudes on the practice of medicine, which is at the heart of Roe v. Wade’s constitutional right to privacy.

Let’s leave aside the gigantic leap, never even suggested by the Supreme Court, from a right to abortion to a right to be interrogated by your doctor about guns you may own. Assuming, with Feldman, that Roe v. Wade should be the starting point, how does the right of privacy in that case apply to the muzzle that California puts on mental health therapists?

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