The state of Florida is a very red state, but when it comes to guns, it more closely resembles a battleground state. While there are a lot of laws that make one think of them as pro-gun, they also have a lot of terrible gun control laws on the books as well.
Now, with a new legislative session just around the corner, there are plenty of bills filed to address guns.
Not all of them are great, either.
Democrats seeking to curb gun violence face headwinds in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature. On the flipside, Republican proposals seeking to loosen gun restrictions may also face pushback.
Oh, boy, look at that “framing.” Nothing biased there. Democrats are trying to fight gun violence but Republicans are just…doing something.
Never you mind the fact that gun rights supporters believe loosening gun restrictions don’t benefit criminals, but can benefit law-abiding citizens and ultimately reduce violent crime. No, that’s completely irrelevant and shouldn’t be included. </eye roll>
South Florida Democrats took part last week in a virtual roundtable about gun safety legislation. “People often ask whether Congress is doing enough, whether the White House is doing enough, whether our state governments have done enough,” said Congressman Ted Deutch, who hosted the online discussion with local and state leaders as well as activists. “The answer to that question is no, undeniably no. Nobody has done or is doing enough.”
For the 4th year, Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, is trying to pass a law that requires the safe storage of firearms to help keep them away from kids. “I naively thought this should be a fairly easy step to take when I entered the legislature four years ago,” Polsky said. “We’re not taking anyone’s guns — just requiring you to do the responsible thing.”
Another proposal would ban ghost guns, firearms that can be pieced together by amateurs at home. “This is really important because this is a case where now our technology has kind of outgrown our laws,” said Christine Hunschofsky, D-Coconut Creek. Her district includes Parkland, and she was the city’s the mayor when the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School happened in 2018. While the gun used by the shooter was purchased legally, other school shootings have been carried out using ghost guns.
“Someone can go online right now, buy an 80% finished firearm. They can be told how to pay for it with cash so it can’t be traced. This firearm kit will be sent to them,” Hunschoksky said. “They will have all the tools to assemble it, and now they will have a firearm that they didn’t need a background check for — and that is untraceable because it has no serial number.”
Advocates are also promoting background checks for anyone buying ammunition. A proposal called Jaime’s Law is named for 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, a victim of the Parkland shooting.
That’s a whole lot of wants from the anti-gun side.
From the anti-gun side, we’ve got this:
In contrast to those moves by the legislature and proposals filed by Democrats, an effort by Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Clermont, would significantly reduce gun restrictions. “I’m always gonna fight for pro-Second Amendment legislation,” Sabatini told the News Service of Florida. “We’ve got to make sure people are able to access firearms when they want for their own self-defense, and that means anywhere they go.”
Sabatini has tried for years to relax Florida’s gun laws. But even Republicans have been loath to go as far as Sabatini wants, especially in an election year. One of his proposals would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to be armed at legislative meetings.
“Some of these government meetings, the way I think some people in politics are today, they’re kind of dangerous places,” Sabatini said. “So it’s just irresponsible that (people) can’t defend themselves in a place where there’s a lot of hostile tension and really dangerous people gathering. So it’s really a self-defensive maneuver if you ask me.
In addition, Sabatini has bills to lower the age to buy a long gun in the state back down to 18, allow campus carry, and a constitutional carry bill.
In other words, Sabatini is really working hard to expand gun rights in the state.
Unfortunately, based on what I’ve seen out of Florida, I don’t see any of this going much of anywhere unless something changes.
Yes, Florida passed gun control not that long ago, but that was in reaction to Parkland. I suspect some lawmakers regret their votes on that, but not enough to vote to eliminate the restrictions, but there’s little chance of some of them voting for still more gun restrictions, especially some of the rather insane items on their wish list.
I mean background checks for ammo? Yeah, it happened in California, but it’s also been a trainwreck there. It won’t be any better in Florida.
But it will make things more difficult for the good guys, as per usual.
Luckily, as I said, I don’t see it actually happening. Still, it sounds like Florida’s legislative session has the potential to be rather lively.