Following a mass shooting, there is a tendency for people to have a knee-jerk reaction to the incident. After Parkland, that knee-jerk reaction led to new regulations in a state known to be incredibly gun friendly. It was enough to give some of us whiplash.
Now, a Florida lawmaker who has some sense is trying to undo the damage caused by legislation driven by feelings.
Pensacola Rep. Mike Hill is attempting to repeal the gun control measures passed last year in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland 11 months ago.
The bill would lower the age to buy a gun from 21 back down to 18 and remove provisions that created a three-day waiting period for rifle and shotgun sales; that banned bump stocks that can allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic rifle; and that created the ability for law enforcement to seek risk-protection orders to seize guns from people declared dangerous.
Hill filed the bill, HB 175, with the Florida House of Representatives on Monday.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act passed the Florida Legislature last year with bipartisan support and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in March. The law was passed weeks after Parkland shooting survivors, family members and supporters filled the halls of the statehouse in Tallahassee demanding action in response to the Feb. 14 shooting, which killed 17 people.
The bill provided $500 million for school safety measures but also enacted changes to Florida’s gun laws that have been decried by pro-gun rights groups.
Gun rights groups are already praising Hill for filing the bill, and with good reason.
Honestly, the MSDHS Public Safety Act was a trainwreck waiting to happen and anyone with a brain knew it.
For example, a three-day waiting period isn’t going to stop a mass shooting. These attacks are generally planned out well in advance. Plus, history shows that waiting periods don’t actually reduce crime in any appreciable way.
Additionally, raising the age limit to purchase a long gun is discriminatory and arguably unconstitutional as it unfairly targeted legal adults and denied them any and all Second Amendment rights. Bump stocks are currently banned at the federal level, but even if they weren’t, they aren’t a significant factor in criminal activity. In fact, Las Vegas is the only report we have of their usage in a crime, and I’ve been looking for examples.
Then there are the red flag laws.
I’ve written an awful lot about red flag laws here. They sound like a possible solution, but I can’t help but notice how many of these killers are doing more than talking about what they want to do. They’re usually abusive, dangerous people well before the shooting. There are opportunities to intervene well before the shootings in most cases.
Conversely, a red flag order could easily be used to disarm a potential victim.
To me, that’s a huge problem.
I’m glad Hill has filed this bill. My hope is that the state of Florida has regained its senses and will repeal a well-intentioned but horribly misguided law. If they want to combat mass shootings, there are far better ways to do it.