Florida Capitol renovations lead to calls of hypocrisy

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

There seems to be this strange misconception among gun control fans. On one hand, people who value gun rights are paranoid and think they’re going to be attacked at any point. On the other, we’re not allowed to take any other steps to mitigate threats.

In Florida, this misconception is playing out at the state level.

You see, there are some renovations taking place. That includes replacing some of the glass.

Yet because the glass is being replaced with bulletproof glass, some are taking this as an example of hypocrisy.

On July 1, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ gun bill allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit went into effect. The Republican-controlled Florida state government called it a victory for Second Amendment lovers everywhere. At the same time, windows on the state Capitol grounds were being upgraded to the tune of $61.6 million. It turns out the reason the windows are so expensive is that they are not simply more energy efficient—they’re bulletproof.

On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that many of the same Republicans who cheered the new permitless carry law put together a spending package in 2019 for the window upgrade. According to the Sentinel, the budget language only referred to the windows as “security improvements.”

“The windows are old and not ballistics rated or bulletproof,” said Laurel Wilson, marketing director for the Childers Construction Co., construction manager for the overall project. “The way things are going in the world, we saw an opportunity to harden the Capitol.”

Democratic lawmakers were surprised to learn the windows were being upgraded to a higher ballistics rating. Orlando Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani told the Sentinel, “That’s kind of intense. I just assumed it was a general renovation.” She added it felt like “real cognitive dissonance” for conservatives to continue to promote and pass laws that “don’t make us more safe” while putting bulletproof glass in the windows of their workplace. Both the Florida Department of Management Services and DeSantis’ office wouldn’t comment on the security measures.

Except there’s no cognitive dissonance involved at all.

You see, we on the gun rights side of things have never pretended bad people won’t do bad things with guns.

What we’ve argued is that gun control doesn’t stop them.

Opposing gun control doesn’t somehow mean you think the world is perfectly safe or anything of the sort. We’ve never claimed it was anything but what it was.

In Florida, taking the step of using bullet-resistant glass as a security measure doesn’t have anything to do with gun control one way or another.

Even under the best gun control schemes imaginable, bad people can still get firearms. Between 3D printers or even converting things like starter pistols to fire live ammo, those who want guns will get guns.

As such, it just makes sense to have security measures in place that will protect lawmakers from such people.

Let’s not forget that we’ve seen several mass shootings in California this year alone, all in the most gun-controlled state in the nation. While none have seemingly targeted public officials, there’s no reason to believe that will hold true indefinitely.

Anti-gunners routinely like to look at any reasonable security step as some form of hypocrisy. Sometimes, such as when it’s about banning guns in certain areas, I don’t see them as being wrong.

In this case, though, it’s akin to claiming someone is a gun rights hypocrite because they have an alarm on their home instead of just shooting the burglar.

What Florida’s anti-gunners need to remember is that most people in the state aren’t interested in shooting lawmakers–not in any serious way, at least–and so inhibiting their right to keep and bear arms isn’t going to keep those lawmakers safer.

Those who want to hurt legislators aren’t going to be deterred by laws against owning a gun. After all, the laws against political assassination aren’t deterring them, so why would gun control?