Convinced that lawmakers need to “do something” after the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Florida Democrats demanded a special session to vote on a long list of gun control bills. Enough lawmakers in Tallahassee have now said “no” in response that the chance of a session being called is now zero percent.
While the deadline is Tuesday for members to reply to the session request, by the weekend 56 House members – 55 Republicans and Rep. Al Jacquet, D-Riviera Beach – had declined interest in convening to discuss gun control proposals.
That makes it mathematically impossible to secure the needed 60 percent necessary to call a special session. At least 72 of the House’s 120 members had to agree.
The responses posted Friday by the Florida Secretary of State’s office also showed at least 16 of 40 senators – all Republicans – said they were opposed to a special session.
Anti-gun lawmakers in Florida will have to wait until January to try to get their gun control agenda passed in the Republican-dominated legislature. While the vast majority of the bills have no real chance at becoming law in Florida next year, many of these items will be popping up in other statehouses across the country in the next few months.
Senate Bill 114, sponsored by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, a “red flag” law that would add parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings and guardians to the list of individuals able to request a risk protection order from a judge to require law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from an individual “the petitioner has reason to believe poses a threat to themselves or others.”
SB 114 has been referred to the Senate Infrastructure & Security, Judiciary and Rules committees. The Infrastructure & Security Committee meets Sept. 16 and the Rules Committee convenes Sept. 19 in the first round of pre-session discussions.
Senate Bill 94, sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, which would require background checks for all firearms transactions, including on the internet.
Book’s bill has been referred to the Judiciary, Criminal Justice and Rules committees. The Criminal Justice Committee is set to stage its first meeting on Sept. 18.
Senate Bill 134, Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, would repeal a 1987 preemption law prohibiting local governments from adopting gun regulations more restrictive than the state’s. It has not been assigned a committee.
Florida passed a “red flag” law last year, but already we’re seeing efforts to expand the law and allow for others beyond law enforcement to request the orders. We know where this is headed. New York’s newly enacted red flag law, for example, allows for dating partners, and even former teachers to petition the court to have someone’s firearms removed.
As for the background check bill, I’m still trying to figure out if the sponsor really believes that firearms can be transferred on the Internet. You can’t download a gun (though you can download blueprints and designs for a 3D printed firearm). You may initiate a discussion about that gun sale online, but the actual legal sale is going to take place in person or involve shipping the gun between federally licensed gun dealers. This is really just another “universal background check” sundae with a little cherry of ignorance on top.
Finally, we have another threat to firearms preemption laws. Getting rid of these laws is a top priority of gun control groups because the preemption laws prevent anti-gun cities from imposing their own gun control laws in favor of a statewide standard set by the legislature. There’s currently a campaign in Pennsylvania to attack preemption, which also includes the challenge by the city of Pittsburgh to the state’s preemption law by passing several local gun control ordinances. In Virginia, one of the gun control bills supported by Governor Ralph Northam would gut the state’s preemption law.
Florida’s just another front in this nationwide fight to erode or obliterate laws that provide a layer of protection against government intrusion on our rights. The unfortunate reality is that no matter where you live or how “safe” you think your state is, gun control advocates have big ideas and the deep pockets to try and make their dreams a reality, both at the state level and by electing an anti-gun president in 2020.