Florida Democrats offer doomed poison pills to permitless carry bill

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The quickest way for Florida Democrats to restore their political relevance in a state where they’re now almost as endangered as manatees would be to give up on their idiotic and authoritarian anti-Second Amendment ideology, but instead the few remaining Dems in the state legislature are doubling down on their support for “sensitive places” and other restrictions on responsible gun owners by attempting to amend the House’s permitless carry bill with all kinds of poison pills unpalatable to those who support the right to keep and bear arms.

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The House Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee took up HB 543 on Tuesday, and several Democrats filed amendments to the bill that would impose a host of new impositions and infringements on those lawfully carrying a firearm; from requiring gun owners to obtain a liability insurance policy to making concealed carry off-limits in most publicly-accessible places, including:

  • grocery stores
  • gas stations
  • shopping malls
  • public lodging establishments (i.e., hotels and motels)
  • festivals
  • hospitals
  • religious institutions
  • concert venues
  • polling places

In addition to those “gun-free zones”, Rep. Dotie Joseph, a Democrat who represents a district in and around North Miami, offered an amendment that would completely remove all mention of permitless carry and instead enact new barriers to obtaining a concealed carry license. Under her proposal, before anyone could receive a license they would have to jump through several new hoops and hurdles.

Has completed a firearms safety class and passed a written exam administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Has a written statement from a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 certifying that the individual is mentally fit and does not have a history of drug abuse; or

Has passed a mental health evaluation and drug creening administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Has taken a 1-day training class in firearms use and passed a live firing test devised by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, with at least 90 percent  accuracy.

Has a safe place or container to store all firearms and an ammunition locker that meets safety regulations, all of which must be inspected by a law enforcement officer.

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Want to exercise your fundamental right to carry a firearm for self-defense? No problem. Just make an appointment to have your head examined first, pass this mandatory test, and schedule a time for police to drop by your house so they can take a look at where you store your firearms.

It’s hard to believe that Joseph herself thinks these are good ideas, especially given her support for policing reforms. Does she really want to require law enforcement to inspect the homes of every concealed carry holder? Joseph has talked in the past about the need to improve police and community relationships, but mandating that cops be let into people’s private residences to take a look around would do the exact opposite.

The good news is that these proposed amendments aren’t going anywhere in the legislature other than the circular file. Permitless carry looks to be on track for passage, and the Democratic minority are just dooming themselves to continued irrelevance in state politics with their embrace of New York and California-style gun control. The bad news is that these authoritarian impulses are popular with a good chunk of our fellow Americans, and in many blue states they stand a decent chance of becoming law this year… ensuring both legal challenges and a continued influx of new residents in pro-2A states like Florida.

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