This statute, known informally as "Docs vs. Glocks," had passed the Florida Legislature and been signed into law by one of the Sunshine State's many colorful governors without my taking note of this legal accomplishment, otherwise I would surely have mentioned it before.
The Florida Legislature can be a recalcitrant body. I noted last year the enormous difficulty Florida was having in making sex with domestic animals a crime. There was a faction among the lawmakers that, while its members did not actually support legal sex between humans and herd animals, doubted that the law was necessary because the number of farm boy—farm critter sexual liaisons was probably pretty small.
Not so with busybody doctors asking Floridians about the gats they owned. The Legislature promptly forbade these meddling medicos from probing the private recesses of their patients, trying to detect the hard lumps of weapon ownership. I don't want to be accused of being hypercritical of these Florida pols, but it strikes me that this was not a big a problem, either.
I have personally consulted many medical professionals. While they have been unanimous in trying to discourage me from eating, drinking and weighing what I do, not one has asked me about the loaded revolver I keep stuffed between the cushions of my La-Z- Boy, in case some unwanted relative or a process server comes to call.
If any of those quacks had asked me about that, or about the illegal full-automatic assault rifle I have mounted in the kitchen window so that I can rake the back yard with hot lead at the slightest provocation, or my ownership of several crates of armor-piercing bullets, or my titanium-toothed, rarely fed attack dog, I would have done what any sensible person does when a doctor asks him or her a question where an honest answer might invite unwanted medical advice. I would have lied.
Lying to one's doctor is a long-established tradition, at least in my family. My doctor believes I start my morning with a healthy eight ounces of orange juice, possibly from Florida, because I don't mention to him that to that juice I add eight ounces of vodka, possibly from Sweden. When he asks me if I use tobacco, I tell him no, even though I have rigged up a special device to keep my cigars dry while I smoke in the shower.
I haven't asked my doctor about medical marijuana, because here in California patients are only allowed to grow twelve cannabis plants for personal use, meaning that the other eighty-eight sprouting in my basement would still be illegal. When he asks specific questions about my diet, I assure him I only eat fresh fruits and vegetables along with a little grilled fish at every meal. I don't mention my usual dessert, a pile of crispy bacon the size of a human head that I press between slices of buttered pound cake and wash down with a pint of homebrew.
So I don't think that either Florida's passing this law in the first place, or the overturning of it by the court last week, really made much difference in your average doctor-patient relationship. When your doctor asks you a question, you know the answer he wants to hear, so you give it to him. Like when my doctor asked me if I always used condoms when I had sex. I answered in the affirmative, even though I've only had safe sex once in my life and decided I didn't like it. No matter whom I'm having sex with, I never use a condom.
But I don't have sex with farm animals. I wouldn't want to break the law.