CS/HB 155

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the privacy of firearms owners;
3creating s. 790.338, F.S.; prohibiting physicians or other
4medical personnel from inquiring, either verbally or in
5writing, about the ownership of a firearm by a patient or
6the family of a patient or the presence of a firearm in a
7patient's private home or other domicile; prohibiting
8conditioning the receipt of medical treatment or care on a
9person's willingness or refusal to disclose personal and
10private information unrelated to medical treatment in
11violation of an individual's privacy contrary to specified
12provisions; prohibiting entry of certain information
13concerning firearms into medical records or disclosure of
14such information by specified individuals; providing
15noncriminal penalties; providing for prosecution of
16violations; requiring informing the Attorney General of
17prosecution of violations; providing for collection of
18fines by the Attorney General in certain circumstances;
19providing exemptions; providing an effective date.
21Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
23     Section 1.  Section 790.338, Florida Statutes, is created
24to read:
25     790.338  Medical privacy concerning firearms; prohibitions;
26penalties; exceptions.-
27     (1)(a)  A verbal or written inquiry by any public or
28private physician, nurse, or other medical staff person
29regarding the ownership of a firearm by a patient or the family
30of a patient or the presence of a firearm in a patient's home or
31other domicile violates the privacy of the patient or the
32patient's family, respectively, and is prohibited.
33     (b)  Any public or private physician, nurse, or other
34medical staff person may not condition receipt of medical
35treatment or medical care on a person's willingness or refusal
36to disclose personal and private information unrelated to
37medical treatment in violation of an individual's privacy as
38specified in this section.
39     (c)  Any public or private physician, nurse, or other
40medical staff person may not intentionally, accidentally, or
41inadvertently enter any disclosed information concerning
42firearms into any record, whether written or electronic, or
43disclose such information to any other source.
44     (2)(a)  A person who violates a provision of this section
45commits a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08,
46punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
47     (b)  If the court determines that the violation was knowing
48and willful or that the person committing the prohibited act, in
49the exercise of ordinary care, should have known the act was a
50violation, the court shall assess a fine of not less than
51$10,000 for the first offense, not less than $25,000 for the
52second offense, and not less than $100,000 for the third and
53subsequent offenses. The person found to have committed the
54violation shall be personally liable for the payment of all
55fines, costs, and fees assessed by the court for the noncriminal
57     (3)  The state attorney in the circuit where the violation
58is alleged to have occurred shall investigate complaints of
59noncriminal violations of this section and, where the state
60attorney determines probable cause that a violation exists,
61shall prosecute violators in the circuit court where the
62violation is alleged to have occurred. Any state attorney who
63fails to execute his or her duties under this section may be
64held accountable under the appropriate Florida rules of
65professional conduct.
66     (4)  The state attorney shall notify the Attorney General
67of any fines assessed under this section, notwithstanding s.
6828.246(6), and if a fine for a violation of this section remains
69unpaid after 90 days, the Attorney General shall bring a civil
70action to enforce the fine.
71     (5)  Except as required by s. 16, Art. I of the State
72Constitution or the Sixth Amendment to the United States
73Constitution, public funds may not be used to defend the
74unlawful conduct of any person charged with a knowing and
75willful violation of this section.
76     (6)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section,
77it is not a violation for:
78     (a)  Any psychiatrist as defined in s. 394.455,
79psychologist as defined in s. 490.003, school psychologist as
80defined in s. 490.003, clinical social worker as defined in s.
81491.003, or public or private physician, nurse, or other medical
82personnel to make an inquiry prohibited by paragraph (1)(a) if
83the person making the inquiry in good faith believes that the
84possession or control of a firearm or ammunition by the patient
85or another member of the patient's household would pose an
86imminent danger or threat to the patient or others.
87     (b)  Any public or private physician, nurse, or other
88medical personnel to make an inquiry prohibited by paragraph
89(1)(a) if such inquiry is necessary to treat a patient during
90the course and scope of a medical emergency which specifically
91includes, but is not limited to, a mental health or psychotic
92episode where the patient's conduct or symptoms reasonably
93indicate that the patient has the capacity of causing harm to
94himself, herself, or others.
95     (c)  Any public or private physician, nurse, or other
96medical personnel to enter any of the information disclosed
97pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) into any record, whether
98written or electronic.
100However, a patient's response to any inquiry permissible under
101this subsection shall be private and may not be disclosed to any
102third party not participating in the treatment of the patient
103other than a law enforcement officer conducting an active
104investigation involving the patient or the events giving rise to
105a medical emergency. The exceptions provided by this subsection
106do not apply to inquiries made due to a person's general belief
107that firearms or ammunition are harmful to health or safety.
108     (7)  Medical records created on or before the effective
109date of this act do not violate this section, nor is it a
110violation of this section to transfer such records to another
111health care provider.
112     Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.