The Parkland Massacre is easily the defining moment for gun control in recent years. It marked a stark turning point in the battle for our gun rights. Rather than the string of victories we had been achieving, we suddenly found ourselves on our heels, fighting just to stay alive.
Now, things have settled down a good bit and sanity is slowly returning to the gun debate. Most people are starting to realize that maybe gun control isn’t the solution they’re looking for.
Many states didn’t wait for such sanity. They reacted in an instant, quickly passing sweeping gun control bills into law and have continued to do so.
One state that initially reacted took a step back and recognized that more gun control wasn’t likely to help. That state happened to be the same state in which Parkland resides.
Now, the media is criticizing Florida for not being reactionary.
Florida legislators couldn’t pass through the Capitol rotunda earlier this month without seeing six oversized portraits of grief wrought by gun violence.
That’s what state Rep. Dan Daley, Democrat of Coral Springs, wanted when he arranged for the interactive exhibit that was on display Feb. 7-14. It tells personal stories of the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Daley is a Douglas graduate. The casualties of that Valentine’s Day impelled him to seek a House seat. Unopposed, he won his special election on Feb. 14, 2019.
“I took it as a sign, a pretty powerful sign,” says Daley, formerly a commissioner in Coral Springs, in Broward County. Gun control remains his top priority.
Unfortunately for Daley and his cause, the Parkland tragedy already had its biggest day in Tallahassee.
The March for Our Lives movement started with impassioned students, led by Parkland survivors, flooding the Capitol; only a few moderately progressive laws emerged from the 2018 session, followed by National Rifle Association-supported legislation.
“There was a narrow window,” says Keith Donner, a longtime Florida political consultant. “They passed some measures, which is remarkable,” considering the fraught history of gun control in the state.
Now, with Parkland momentum gone and elections looming, “it’s business as usual, and that means there’s zilch appetite on the part of the Republicans to do anything,” Donner says. Republicans control the Senate, House and governor’s mansion.
For people like Daley, the problem is simply that people didn’t stay sad and angry long enough. They calmed down and remembered that the gun wasn’t responsible for the shooting. A turdnugget who never should have been in that school in the first place was responsible for that shooting.
They took a step back and figured they’d done enough damage to Floridians’ civil rights and opted not to get stupid.
Further, the laws passed in the aftermath all more or less were inspired by the events of Parkland; a red flag law because the shooter gave off a lot of red flags, an age limit to buy long guns since the killer was just 19-years-old, things like that. Once those measures passed, even many of those who stood by those measures probably felt they’d addressed what needed to be addressed.
Yet understand that while anti-gun jihadists will routinely argue a mass shooting warrants gun control, they never want to stop at just those handful of measures. No, they want to keep on going and going. Keep in mind that Brady, for example, grades states each year and only California has an “A” rating, and they only have an “A-” while states like Illinois–a state with horrible gun rights–is a “B.”
It’s never enough. What they want is more and more restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.
If it was just about addressing what they say are the causes of mass shootings, Florida should serve as a textbook example to them. The fact that it’s not, that they’re blasting Florida for not continuing with reactionary anti-gun measures, proves that they’re lying when they claim they just want a few “common sense” gun control laws.
No, they want them all.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to maintain that the Florida laws didn’t accomplish anything and need to be repealed. But I try not to let black swan events dictate my politics, either.