Gun Rights Advocates Seeing No Movement on Florida Gun Bills

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

The state of Florida has an up and down relationship with gun laws, it seems.

In the wake of Parkland, they went from a firmly pro-gun reputation to embracing several anti-gun measures. Then they passed a form of permitless carry last year, which didn’t include open carry but was otherwise pretty decent.


As we’ve noted, there are measures up for consideration that would correct some of the post-Parkland hysteria.

And, frankly, gun rights advocates are getting frustrated.

At the halfway mark of the annual Florida legislative session, everyone but Republican leaders appear frustrated with the approach to gun regulations.

In more than two dozen bills filed for the 60-day session, gun control and Second Amendment advocates proposed 12 changes in state law on who can buy firearms, background checks for purchases, and how guns are stored.

The other four make it easier to acquire a gun and have passed House committees, two along party line votes, and two unanimously, without any of them yet heard in the Senate.

Specifically, they would reduce age requirements, limit waiting periods, exempt juvenile felony convictions as a prohibition to buy a firearm, and mandate law enforcement’s quicker return of weapons seized after an arrest but that won’t be used as evidence.

Gun rights advocates fume that those proposals appear stalled in a Legislature where Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers. Gun safety advocates are shocked that a state that is home to two of the deadliest mass shootings of the past eight years would even consider relaxing regulations.

This seems rather insane in a state that just passed permitless carry.


What gives?

Well, Gov. Ron DeSantis is pretty firm in his support of the Second Amendment and in restoring gun rights to citizens in Florida. This is, obviously, an important part of the equation.

The problem is that there are some Republicans in Florida who aren’t interested in restoring people’s rights.

Luis Valdes, the Florida director for Gun Owners of America, said many of the lawmakers who approved the MSD reforms six years ago are still in the Legislature and today block pro-gun legislation.

And then after Valdes’ group and others got a House committee to lower the age to buy rifles, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, dismissed the proposal as a “non-starter.”

“Republican lawmakers constantly campaign that they’re pro-gun and the only bulwark to stop Democrats from eviscerating Floridians’ gun rights. But the truth is, the actions of Florida’s top Republicans is that they don’t care about Second Amendment rights,” Valdes said.

So, basically, Passidomo is the roadblock. She doesn’t want to expand gun rights and she’s in a position to make damn sure gun rights aren’t restored.

Florida has the nickname of “The Gunshine State” but lawmakers like Passidomo are why the post-Parkland hysteria took hold and are the people that need to be removed from office in order to right the ship there in the state.


The good news is that she’s term limited, apparently, which means she’s on her way out soon enough. Her term ends in 2026, which means just two more years and then she’s gone. Her “non-starter” stuff will go with her.

Unfortunately, how many innocent people will die because they were denied the ability to defend themselves?

If there’s any good news, there also appears to be a number of gun control bills that are also stalling in Florida. They’re not likely to get passed, either, so everyone’s a little frustrated.

I don’t think they’d pass even if they came up for a vote, though, so there’s a big difference between the two.

For our friend in Florida, good luck.

Remember this when it’s time to vote. Make sure the Republicans saying they’ll support gun rights recognize there’s more to than than just not voting for gun control.

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