By Chris Wagoner:
In Florida on January 5th, 2017, a Democratic senator from Orlando (you may recall the Pulse Nightclub shooting last year in Orlando) named Senator Linda Stewart filed what she called a “gun safety” bill. In reality, the bill (SB 254 and HB 167) does nothing to enhance “gun safety” and is nothing more than an attempt to outlaw some very common firearms. But what is even more reprehensible is the fact that the good senator apparently does not know anything about firearms, and she relied on someone (or a group of people) who also know little about guns. It almost appears as if they went on the internet and tried to list every “scary-looking” firearm they could find.
The bill attempts to outlaw every single firearm that starts with the letters “AK” or “AR.” It goes on to list scores of others by name. Really? Does the fine, educated senator realize that many firearms have names that do not mean they are “assault weapons”? Probably not.
The bill attempts to finish that elusive job of defining an “assault weapon”—something that has never been done to any degree of intelligence since there is no such thing in existence. The bill says that “assault weapon means any selective-fire firearm capable of fully automatic, semiautomatic, or burst fire at the option of the user or any of the following specified 39 semiautomatic firearms” (which she goes on to list). What the good senator failed to check on was that select fire automatic weapons have been illegal since the 1934 National Firearms Act and were banned from further production by 922(r) in 1986. Does she not know that select fire automatic firearms are already illegal to possess and buy/sell unless you have a federal license from the ATF? Does she think that her bill will override the federal laws? Would someone who is following the law to own a select fire weapon suddenly be in violation of this law? And why ban firearms that are already banned? Seems kind of stupid if you ask me. But I am a common sense kind of person. Seems there is a lack of that in some of those in Tallahassee.
To give you an example of how silly this bill is, she wants to ban a rifle called the Barrett 82A1. Maybe she should have researched a bit. This rifle is a semi-automatic (it’s not an automatic or machine gun, never was, and is not made in that form anywhere), and it only holds 10 rounds in its magazine. So why ban a 10-round semi-automatic firearm that has never been used in any criminal shooting anywhere that we can find? Well, there is no reason, really. Just the fear of scary-looking firearms.
Also, the bill attempts to ban any firearm that has a folding or telescoping stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, grenade launcher (which is illegal anyway), fore grip that “encircles the barrel,” or threaded barrel—and this includes a shotgun with any of these features. Yes, shotgun!
And then the bill goes on to try and ban “large capacity magazines,” which she defines as any magazine holding more than—ready for this?—seven rounds! My semi-automatic Glock Model 41 .45-caliber pistol holds 13, for heaven’s sake. And almost every police firearm in the state holds more than that. Most are in the 13–15 rounds range. This is a ridiculous attempt to outlaw every modern firearm in the state. There are many more poorly researched and even more poorly written items in this bill, but you can read the insanity for yourself at SB 254.
So it has begun—the season of legislation that tries to undo all the freedom that has been gained back over the last few years. It amazes me how poorly thought out and researched much of the anti-gun legislation is. When will our legislative representatives realize that the reason that the last presidential and state-level elections went the way they did was because the average Joe and Jane are tired of having our rights trampled on and taken away in the name of “gun safety” and baseless fear? There is no reason whatsoever to try and ban these firearms mentioned in the bill. Many are already federally controlled by the ATF, and the rest simply are not the problem.
The deaths and killings by firearms are small in comparison to many other causes of death. More children drown in pools than are killed by guns, but you don’t see the good senator trying to pass new pool laws or ban any pool with more than 100 gallons in it. Cars kill far more people, but those are not being vilified and targeted for banning. Why? Because we realize that it’s not the car that kills people, it’s the driver, and they make laws against the careless, reckless, and drunken use of a car. Same for firearms.
Also, driving cars, swimming in pools, and things that cause more death than guns are not similarto firearms in one crucial aspect. They are not a constitutionally protected right! What other right do you have to buy back from the government in the form of a license to exercise it? Do you have to go buy a “License to Speak” or a “License to Express Yourself”? No, of course not, because we all realize that those are freedoms and rights. Just as the ownership and possession of firearms is. People have a God-given “human right” (for those non-believers) to self-defense and a constitutionally protected right to own and carry firearms. It is about time that our lawmakers realize that Americans have had enough oversight in trying to take away our American right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.
So to our senators and representatives, I say this (repeat after me, please): “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not get? It’s pretty easy to understand, and even those who think they are helping by trying to ban something should understand that. Stop trying to ban firearms and work on the real problems facing society today. If you didn’t figure it out this last election, we could make the statement even louder next election if you like. The average Joe/Jane have spoken, and you’d better listen!
Chris Wagoner is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. He has been in law enforcement the last 35+ years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction, and is in charge of a large Police Academy in North Florida. In his spare time Chris is a freelance Military Reporter and owner/founder of the Largest Military Videos Channel on YouTube “3rdID8487”.