ACLU of Florida along with medical and child welfare groups filed amicus curiae stating the 2011 law violated free speech

CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

MIAMI, FL – In a 2-1 decision a panel of judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has overturned a lower court decision that had declared unconstitutional a 2011 Florida law banning doctors from discussing safety regarding the presence of guns in a patient’s home. The decision comes in the case of Wollschlaeger v. Florida – often referred to as the “docs v. glocks” case – in which doctors had challenged the 2011 law as a violation of free speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, along with leading medical and child welfare organizations, had filed a friend-of-the court brief in the case, co-authored by volunteer attorneys Tom Julin and Gerald Greenberg, arguing that the law unconstitutionally restricts the free speech rights of medical personnel and hampers their ability to protect the health and safety of their patients.

In response to today’s decision, Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida stated:

“We are astounded that a court would allow the legislature to override the free speech rights of doctors and medical personnel. It’s a sad day when judges tell doctors what is in the best interest of their patients. This unconstitutional law gags doctors and prevents them from talking to their patients about measures to help parents protect children from guns in the home. The only thing that makes this discussion ‘bad medical practice’ in the view of two federal judges is the fact that it has to do with guns.”

“Today’s decision will keep doctors from asking reasonable questions and providing advice that could very well save lives. We expect the doctors who filed this case to appeal this decision and that this decision will ultimately be overturned.”

The ACLU of Florida’s amicus brief in the case, filed with Alachua County Medical Society, Broward County Medical Association, Broward County Pediatric Society, Palm Beach County Medical Society, Florida Public Health Association, University of Miami School of Law Children and Youth Clinic, Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc., and Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, is available here:

Today’s decision is available here:

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