What Is Really Hurting Pro-Gun Efforts In Florida?

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Florida has a reputation for being pro-gun. Its unofficial nickname is The Gunshine State, after all. Having had the opportunity to sit down and talk with a number of Floridian gun rights activists, though, it’s clear that the reputation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s not that people in the state don’t respect the Second Amendment. Far from it. They love it and are willing to defend it.

The problem is that despite that, their legislature doesn’t seem to care. Lawmakers trot out their pro-Second Amendment stances during the campaigns but then there’s little movement in the wake of reelections.

Activists in the state aren’t thrilled.

Apparently, though, there’s more going on down there than just two-faced politicians.

This week, a Florida gun group launched an attack on our state director Luis Valdes and, by extension, on Gun Owners of America.

This broadside was then reprinted by a national group, as well as another state gun group in Florida.

GOA has made it a practice not to speak ill of other pro-gun groups, and so I don’t intend to do so here. At the same time, given the coordinated attacks by several groups, it’s necessary that I respond to the false allegations because there are surely many gun owners who have read the articles, and they want to hear our side of the story.

As you know, GOA is a no-compromise group, which means that we will never give politicians a pass for compromising — no matter what their party affiliation. GOA has been critical of many Florida legislators for refusing to pass substantive pro-gun bills, and ultimately, this is why we are being attacked.

One would think that suggesting there is a problem with Florida’s elected Republicans would be a no-brainer. After all, Florida has a Republican supermajority which means that Democrats have no power to stop significant pro-gun bills — if only Republicans had the will to push them.

But as I will explain below, Republican politicians have been stealthily working to undermine pro-gun bills. One such politician is Florida state Representative Cord Byrd, who has refused to bring up important pro-gun bills — such as Constitutional Carry and 2A Sanctuaries — after he had promised to do so.

Now, obviously, there are problems in Florida. It should be noted that I’m quoted a couple of different places in the above-linked post. Obviously, I’m going to at least agree with those parts.

But there’s more to it.

See, what is happening is that people like Rep. Cord Byrd (R-D4) who have been in a position to help pro-gun bills have seemingly been doing the opposite. When pro-Second Amendment bills enter his committee and then never seem to make it out, one has to wonder why? Either he’s ineffective at shepherding bills through his committee or he’s actively sabotaging them. Or, at least, it sure looks that way.

Now, I’m not going to say that compromise is never a good thing. I tend to take the approach that anything that ultimately moves the needle more toward liberty from tyranny is a good thing. If a compromise does that, then that’s a win in my book.

But what about “compromise” that doesn’t do that? Well, that’s an unmitigated loss for freedom in the great state of Florida.

Look, the GOP has a huge majority in the state of Florida. I find it hard to believe that the average voter in Florida actively opposes something like constitutional carry in the state.

Maybe it’s time for real pro-gun voices in the state to start demanding lawmakers either live up to their pro-Second Amendment claims or replace them with someone who will.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET