Does Florida really want more gun control?

Does Florida really want more gun control?
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Following the Parkland massacre, the state of Florida acted swiftly. They passed a number of gun control measures, including red flag laws and making it 21 to buy a long gun in the state.

Lawmakers who backed those measures, though, suddenly found themselves having to defend them during the next election, and it wasn’t particularly easy for many of them.

A number didn’t manage to pull it off and were replaced by Florida voters.

Which made an editorial from a Florida paper particularly ironic.

Do you have a history of violence related to mental illness? A felony record? An injunction ordering you to stay away from someone who is scared you might hurt them? If so, you’re not supposed to have a gun, much less carry one in public. But it may get a lot harder to catch you.

This is a glimpse of what life may be like in Florida if lawmakers pass the permitless-carry gun law Gov. Ron DeSantis is about to unveil. We haven’t seen it yet, but most of the above changes have been proposed in Florida before and came close to becoming law. All of them are permitted in at least one other state.

Here’s what the governor is ignoring: Most Floridians want rational restrictions on the availability of guns.

They don’t want to have to consider whether someone is locked and loaded before shush-ing them in a theater or staring them down over the last space in a crowded parking lot. They don’t want private property owners forced to allow guns to be carried inside their businesses.

They don’t support the availability of assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines or other technology that can enhance a firearm into a weapon of fast and lethal destruction. Americans have repeatedly said they want guns kept away from people with a history of violence. They want to close loopholes for private weapons sales and gun shows.

It’s a bold statement. So what support do they provide for it? Just national polls, which actually tell them little about what Floridians actually want.

We saw following Parkland that many Floridians didn’t support those particular measures, and those were rather tame as gun control went. This was in the wake of a horrible mass shooting in their state, a time when support for gun control was going to be as high as it really could get.

And they didn’t. Want. It.

But the editorial board knows better.

The thing is, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which published this, sits in a generally anti-gun bubble in a very pro-gun state. It’s easy for them to believe that the people of Florida want gun control because they don’t really venture out and look at the rest of the state.

From my experience, though, Floridians want no such thing.

Especially since most saw absolutely no impact on crime in the past with gun control. Nor did they see crime increase as the state rolled back some of the gun control already on the books. While Florida Man is a meme, most people in the state are not, in fact, idiots. They can see that if the anti-Second Amendment types were right, they should all have been killed years ago.

They weren’t, though, which suggests all the “the streets will run red with blood” crap was just that, crap.

In truth, they don’t want anything to do with it.

They voted for Ron DeSantis over a gun control candidate for governor knowing good and well that someone like DeSantis would back constitutional carry. They knew what they were getting and they asked for it. It’s awful bold for an editorial board to decide to tell those same people what they really want, even if they don’t realize it.