Sunday, February 26, 2006

Even the NRA Supports Speech Regulation

Those who oppose regulation often forget (or ignore) the fact that a large amount of regulation is supported by (often requested by) business groups and other groups generally "anti-regulation".

The National Rifle Association usually opposes regulations concerning firearms. The NRA claims to support free speech, opposing campaign finance regulations that would limit their advertising and support for politicians that take their views.

But how strong is the NRA's opposition to statutory limits on speech? The NRA supports a Virginia bill that would prevent a doctor or other health professional from asking a patient about firearms except in the case of a gun injury or if the patient asks the professional about gun safety. For example, a pediatrician might want to remind parents to keep firearms locked up around children. A mental health professional interviewing a young person who had shown signs of possible violent behavior if the young person had access to guns or used guns.

If you don’t like for your doctor to ask about gun safety, why can’t you just either refuse to answer or find another doctor. Isn’t a “speech code” for health professionals just as much a restriction on freedom of speech as campaign finance regulations”

Is this restriction on doctor-patient communications necessary for the public health and safety?

The Volokh Conspiracy has more.