Just last year, in the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, sweeping gun control reforms passed our state. While Florida hasn’t suffered a mass shooting since, the continuation of issues across the country once again have it on the front-burner. Congress is contemplating various gun control measures once it resumes from recess. Plus, Florida’s Supreme Court will soon consider the proposed Constitutional Amendment advanced by the Ban Assault Weapons Now group. This is likely a bit more than political posturing, it does provide insight into the current, desired political agenda of Florida’s state Democratic delegation. The agenda for the special session for additional gun control calls for the following reforms:
- Universal background checks
- Ban of “large” capacity magazines
- Reduce the legal duration of a concealed carry permit
- New regulations for storing a gun at home
- Expand Florida’s recently passed “Red-Flag” or “risk protection” policy
- Establishment of an “Urban Gun Violence Task Force”
Most of these agenda items aren’t going to pass in Florida but it is an instructive moment to understand the true intent politically by Florida’s Democrats. While the entire purpose of the call for a special session, is to address a perceived emergency that needs to be addressed in our state, much of what’s in here proves to be anything but something that’s arisen out of an emergency. Yes, universal background checks and “large” capacity mags are front in center in many proposals and may be likely to pass federally in the near future. On the other hand, there’s inherent contradictory proposed policy being advanced that shows a more instructive view of a much bigger agenda.
Florida’s current law allows for concealed carry permits to remain valid for seven years. Question. Where’s the crisis here? Why does it need to be shortened? Has this ever proven to be an issue? In fact, the only related research on the topic has shown that concealed carry permitted holders are 50% less likely to break the law than the average non-concealed carry permitted holder. So, what’s the real agenda here? What’s more, is the desire to pass new regulations for storing a gun in a home? What are they proposing should be done, random house searchers of lawful gun owners to ensure they’re complying? And yes, Florida’s red-flag policy has been used numerous times since its inception but already we should expand it so that virtually anyone could call in concern to authorities about any lawful gun owner? Where’s the research suggesting that’s necessary? Where are the examples of how that would have made a difference?
If the agenda is really the incremental path towards attempting to eliminate most lawful gun ownership in our state, Florida’s Democrats should be open and honest about their intentions and we can have that debate. Suggesting that an emergency session should take place to pass bans that have proven to keep more Floridians safe than cause harm renders this as little more than a thinly veiled political agenda exploiting tragedies from other states as catalysts.
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