If you do not think that Florida citizens were just duped and taken for a ride by the Florida Legislature, then you are sadly misinformed and need to read on…
The misnamed “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” which creates the “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program” was recently passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott (R). What exactly did this bill do that was so needed that it was pushed through the halls of Tallahassee in four days, both Houses, and had over 125 amendments?
Well, let’s see what it actually accomplished.
First, it bans any ADULT between 18 and 20 from buying any firearm from a licensed dealer. Now on the surface that may seem like a minor issue to some. But if you believe in constitutional rights, you should be shocked.
Think about this: because of the actions of a very few, the entire state’s 18 to 20-year-old population is to be considered unstable and unworthy of being treated like adults? Oh, but wait – they can vote, they can join the military, they can become police officers (at 19) – but they are not trustworthy enough to buy a firearm. They can carry one daily as a law enforcement officer (LEO) or member of the military, but not as a citizen. What? So, I guess that they are a separate class of citizen that only gets to exercise specific rights?
I supervise a police training academy in North Florida and I have students in this age range in almost every class I have. I issue them a firearm and spend scores of hours with them on the ranges and I find them to be quite competent at using and shooting handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Some will say “But you train them, that’s the difference.” However, most come to the academy already knowing how to shoot a firearm and do so quite well. I simply hone the techniques and methods they already have.
The other issue with the age ban is that it’s simply unconstitutional. Our founding fathers did not set aside age restrictions on our constitutional rights. They thought that parents and other adults would take responsibility for their children (I know…silly them, right?) and that when a person legally became an adult (which is 18 last time I checked the laws), they should be given all of the rights afforded every other citizen. Yet the Florida Legislature decided otherwise.
Let’s not allow adults to be adults, let us restrict their rights and only let them exercise those rights we think they should be able to exercise because a couple (yes, a couple) of people of that age did something terrible, so all people of that age are not worthy of being treated as adults. Do you see how stupid that is? I hope so.
I am sure it’s a minor fact that the average age of a mass murderer is 35, but who worries about facts.
Rightfully so, the NRA has already filed a lawsuit to strike this portion of the law as unconstitutional. Hopefully this will not take long, and our young adults will have their rights restored.
Second, the new law makes it a felony to own a device that increases the rate of fire on a firearm to one simulating or being close to a fully automatic one. The “bump stock” ban which was part of this bill states:
“As used in this section, the term ‘bump fire stock’ means a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.”
Now if you read that correctly and with the eye of a lawyer, this means bump-fire stocks, binary triggers and anything that increases the rate of fire is illegal, and possession of such is a felony. By the way, you can do this with rubber bands and string, but of course, those are now illegal…and to possess such makes you a felon!
Do you see how silly this is? And one minor point our illustrious legislators failed to recognize is that with just a few minutes of training, I can teach (as can many others) anyone to shoot a rifle or pistol accurately at a rate of fire very close to fully automatic. It’s called “hammering the target” and makes this legislation completely pointless!
And again, a minor fact. There is not one official report from a law enforcement agency stating that a bump-fire stock was used in a crime anywhere. That’s right, the Las Vegas mass murderer report has not come out yet and there is not one official report of it being used in a crime, yet we have to make felons out of anyone who has one! Again the idiocy of this makes me cringe.
Then there is, of course, the three-day waiting period that was stuck in this bill, even though not a single mass murderer went out, bought a firearm legally, and then went right to murdering people within 72 hours of buying said firearm. It makes no difference that this waiting period has nothing to do with the recent shooting and is a throwback to trying to put more restrictions on people. Waiting periods are simply supposed to prevent “heat of the moment” crimes.
Well since rifles were not covered by the waiting period, and only handguns were, please show us one case of where someone went out and bought a rifle and then went on a murder spree. We will wait…
That’s what I thought. You can’t because there are none. This is a do-nothing, feel-good, “at least we did something” part of the law. Handguns already had this restriction; unless you have a concealed carry license, then you have no waiting period.
Third, the new law makes a long process out of something that was already in existence. A person who is deemed mentally incompetent cannot legally buy a firearm of any kind. It’s a federal law. Plus, a judge in Florida already may require that a person turn in firearms or have law enforcement take them into custody if a person is found to need examination in a court of law.
There is a process already in place to deal with this and it did not need to be added to a new law. What they did add actually makes it much more cumbersome for law enforcement to be able to act and take weapons into custody based on the “ex parte” orders.
Let’s not forget that this new law will cost the taxpayers of Florida (all taxpayers, not just the firearms owners) over $400 million dollars, and then dump a lot of that cost after the first year on the counties that decided to take part in the arming school staff portion.
Now the bill actually has some good stuff in it, like allowing school staff (not teachers though, they are prohibited because legislators feel they are not trustworthy enough) to take training and then carry a firearm concealed in the school. Great idea. The training is a great idea. Only thing is, this was already proposed by another bill (SB 1236) filed back on December 11th, 2017 by Senator Dennis Baxley (R).
If this is the case and this was so important that they rush it through and try and do all this last-minute, why was Sen. Baxley’s bill not put through when it was submitted? Or at least after the latest mass murder? If this was such a great idea, why was it not a great idea four months ago? And why a new bill and not one that left out all the unconstitutional and stupid do-nothing stuff?
So, when it all boils down, why did our Florida lawmakers create and pass this unconstitutional bill? Because they wanted to be able to say they “did something” for those teens in South Florida who were being paraded around the country by the anti-rights groups. Instead of using their brains and thinking through things like they were elected to do, they fell into the emotional trap that the anti-rights groups set for them…hook, line, and sinker.
Thank goodness we have people who see through all this and refuse to compromise the rights of Florida’s citizens. People like Representative Cord Byrd (R) of the Florida House refused to vote for this legislation because it violated the Constitution. Thank God for men like him being the voice of reason in a house full of people willing to bow to the emotionally driven anti-rights agenda.
Hopefully, all those young adults who are 18-20 and can vote, will vote in the next election. They will make it clear that they are not to be taken lightly and many of us will be voting right along with them. If you thought that the last presidential election was interesting and sent a message, wait until the Florida legislators see what they have done.
Florida has the most concealed-carry permit holders in the nation, over 1.8 million are licensed as of now, and are growing by leaps and bounds. Even faster now that they passed this law. Recently, I have had dozens of emails and calls asking about the classes.
My recommendation to is to get your concealed carry permit, carry everywhere it is legal to do so, and look to see how your senator and representative voted on this terrible piece of legislation. If they voted in favor of it, vote someone new in…someone you think will stand up for the Constitution like Rep. Byrd did.
Shame on you Florida legislators for caving to the emotionally-driven anti-rights hype and propaganda. You all should have passed Sen. Baxley’s Bill 1236 while you had the chance.