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In a Blow to the National Rifle Association, Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Gun Lobby-Backed Florida Doctor Gag Rule That Barred Doctors From Talking With Patients About Guns

February 17, 2017

Declaring Florida’s Doctor Gag Order Violates the First Amendment, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Sides with Doctors, Medical Associations and Gun Violence Prevention Groups over Florida Officials Egged on by the National Rifle Association’s Extreme Leadership

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which ruled unconstitutional a 2011 Florida law forbidding doctors from speaking with their patients about guns.

The court rejected the arguments of the National Rifle Association’s leadership and Florida officials beholden to the gun manufacturers lobby that defended the gag order and sided with the doctors, medical associations and gun violence prevention groups that challenged the law.

“This decision is a sharp rebuke for the NRA leadership, which has long sought to suppress research funding, data and speech – and in this case, to gag doctors by barring them from discussing gun safety with their patients,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It is now plainly clear: Physicians do not leave their free speech rights at the clinic door. Doctors can – and should – talk to their patients about responsible gun ownership and the risks that come with having unsecured guns in the home, just as they would with any other safety concern.”

“Parents trust our family doctors to tell us the truth about risks and dangers to our children’s health – from not vaccinating our kids to having an unsecured firearm in the house,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “I am heartened that the court decided that the gun lobby cannot silence doctors on the issue of gun safety: This is a life-or-death matter for American families.”

Everytown and Moms Demand Action filed several amicus briefs in the case urging the full Eleventh Circuit to take up the case en banc and urging the District Court’s decision be upheld. The Jones Day team that filed Everytown’s amicus briefs included Peter Canfield, Gregory Castanias, and Charlotte Taylor. They were joined on the brief by Everytown lawyers J. Adam Skaggs and Mark Anthony Frassetto.

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