This article contains editorial content by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today
TALLAHASSEE, FL – There will be no special session on gun control in the Florida legislature in 2022, and never, if the governor has his way.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made clear his stand when he spoke with reporters earlier this week. He noted:
“You focus on the criminal. You focus on the lunatic. You don’t knee cap the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Florida’s Democrat lawmakers attempted to force a special legislative session to address “gun violence” after a recent flurry of mass shootings across the United States.
Earlier this week, they called for the special session to pass “common-sense gun law reforms” but a poll to mandate the session failed to achieve the mandatory super-majority of 60% by the 3 p.m. Friday deadline, according to Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd.
In the state Senate, 16 Democrats voted for the special session and five Republicans opposed it.
In the House, 41 Democrats voted in favor of the session and 14 Republicans opposed the move.
Regarding the failed special session, outgoing House Minority Leader Evan Jenne said:
“Sometimes we throw Hail Marys. I think everyone involved with this knew that this is an uphill battle, but we would not be doing our jobs if we did not continue to press forward on what our constituencies are asking us to do.”
Many Republicans simply ignored the vote. No Republican lawmaker voted in support of it but even if the votes had magically appeared, no special session can take place without the approval of the governor.
Republican Sen. Joe Gruters told 10 Tampa Bay on Wednesday that he would vote no, if he voted at all. He did, in fact, abstain from voting on the session. He called the special session unnecessary and a “political stunt” by Democrats. Gruters cited gun laws the Florida Legislature enacted following the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, including raising the age to purchase a gun to 21 and banning bump stocks.
“Florida has been very proactive across the board for school safety and common-sense legislation as it relates to guns and gun safety.”
Democrats are pinning the November elections on Americans wanting stricter gun control while DeSantis has warned that the issue of safety through more gun legislation is a Trojan horse that will affect only law-abiding citizens.
Three key measures would have been on the special-session agenda: regulating high-capacity rifle magazines, mandating universal background checks and expanding red flag laws.
“With all due respect to these leftists, they just want to come after your Second Amendment rights. Let’s just be honest, that’s what they want to do. They don’t want you — they view you, as a law-abiding citizen, as the target of what they’re trying to do.
“How can they, on the one hand, say they’re serious about this when they support these people who let all the criminals out of prison and they don’t prosecute people?”
Democrats, including Rep. Joe Geller of Aventura, who sought the special session, claimed that none of what they’re calling for would infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Geller said:
“These leftists? Nothing in our proposal would take a gun away from anybody who has one. We’re trying to control who gets one, and we’re trying to make sure that people who have been clearly dangerous have a red flag.”
Orlando Democrat Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, whose district includes Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando where a bisexual Muslim man killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in 2016, told Florida Politics the special-session request was a modest one.
She accused Gov. DeSantis of preferring to cause chaos and of throwing insults at opponents instead of solving problems. She added:
“For the governor to try to pivot and say this is about leftists taking away firearms, it’s just not true. Nothing in this special session order would take away anyone’s firearm.”
That’s not because the left doesn’t want to, though. It’s a disingenuous declaration on Eskamani’s part, given that Geller himself told a reporter that he’s in favor of a ban on assault weapons, whatever they are. He is smart enough to understand that the discussion must be limited at this time to “common-sense” legislation that could draw wider bipartisan support.
Many on the right think that with an election looming, the left is seeking a less-bumpy road, temporarily, but one which would eventually lead to gun bans.
Still, Gov. DeSantis didn’t accuse Florida Democrats of trying to take people’s guns during the special session, despite Geller’s and Eskamani’s claims.
DeSantis was right when he said they are targeting the Second Amendment by pushing to criminalize higher-capacity magazines commonly used by gun owners and private, person-to-person sales and expand the state’s red flag law, which currently requires law enforcement to file petitions. Democrats want a much broader sphere of individuals who can file potentially false claims against a gun owner.
DeSantis pointed out that law-abiding citizens are the focus of their gun-control efforts, ignoring that there are thousands of gun laws already on the books. And it’s Democrat and leftist district attorneys and judges who ignore these laws while being soft on criminals.
Florida Democrats tipped their hand by calling for a special session aimed only at legal gun owners instead of exploring ways to expand access to mental health care or to overhaul the justice system to ensure that violent criminals are incarcerated and away from law-abiding citizens.
The worst-case scenario is that they had hoped to use the special session in the same manner that their colleagues in Washington are using the Jan. 6 primetime TV extravaganza to smear Republicans in general. They would like to portray Republicans — from Gov. DeSantis on down — as uncaring, paid-off tools of the gun lobby.
But opposing legislation that focuses on guns hardly means DeSantis isn’t tuned in to the violence plaguing American society. His strategy takes a realistic view of the problems and their possible solutions, rather than the cudgel that gun owners are bad and need to be reined in by the government.
Thus, he favors bolstering school security, mental health care and law enforcement. On Tuesday, he signed into law legislation that increases school safety. DeSantis said in a statement:
“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment.”
The new law orders the state Board of Education to draft policy on school emergency drills, originally a task of local school districts. It also empowers school resource officers to make arrests at charter schools.
The new law also requires police to attend on-campus active-shooter drills and mandates that at least 80% of school staff undergo youth mental-health awareness training.
In a statement issued last week following President Biden’s calls for greater gun restrictions, the National Rifle Association said it supports improving school security and keeping guns out of criminals’ hands, but vowed to “fight any proposal that will disarm law-abiding Americans.”
NSSF: U.S. House gun control hearings reveal the farce and show how the left simply wants to take away your guns
June 10, 2022
The U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She’s constantly being pushed further and further to the Left by progressive and antigun members of her caucus who are not interested in finding common ground on firearm safety proposals.
If the rush to place blame on law-abiding gun owners for the tragedies in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, didn’t give away their cynical intentions, the public House committee hearings this week on proposed gun control bills did. None of the proposals would have stopped the reprehensible acts and wouldn’t stop future incidents. It was all for show.
Know What You’re Selling
The U.S. House Committee on Rules held a markup hearing to debate the massive gun control package Speaker Pelosi is pushing through for a vote. The package includes proposals favored by gun control groups, including a so-called “assault weapons” ban.
During the committee hearing, U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) questioned U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), testifying in favor of the bill package, about some basics.
Rep. Reschenthaler served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) before Congress and the congressman was deferential in his questioning. “Chairman Nadler – I don’t want to put you on the spot but do you know what the ‘AR’ in ‘AR-15’ stands for?”
“It stands for ‘assault rifle,’” the New York Democrat responded. “That’s not it…Mr. Massie, do you know what it stands for?” Rep. Reschenthaler asked, turning to hearing witness U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “ArmaLite – the original manufacturer.”
“Yeah exactly and that’s unfortunate because it’s the first manufacturer of the platform in I think 1963 and it’s different than the M-16 platform. I know I was in the Navy, I shot M-16s – actually M-4s.”
“But it’s still an assault rifle,” Chairman Nadler interrupted. Shaking his head, Rep. Reschenthaler stated, “I would disagree with that.”
More Americans are familiar with the rifle in question than ever and understand more about them than Chairman Nadler. AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles, or Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), are the most popular selling centerfire semiautomatic rifles in the country. The most recent industry estimate shows over 20 million are in circulation.
The rifle operates off the same one-trigger pull-one-round-fired technology that is utilized in shotguns and handguns for well over a century.
More homicides are committed in America each year using knives, clubs and fists combined than rifles of any kind, let alone from MSRs, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.
Standing Up for Rights
Not to be outdone, U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) held a gun control hearing of her own. She’s currently locked in a fierce incumbent-on-incumbent primary election battle with Rep. Nadler.
The two Manhattanites are trying their hardest to out-gun-control one another. Rep. Maloney’s committee hearing involved survivors of criminal violence, including those involved in the recent tragedies in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
Testimony was also provided by The D.C. Project’s Lucretia Hughes.
Hughes is a Second Amendment advocate whose 19-year-old son was murdered by a criminal. She testified about the need for people – especially women – to be able to defend themselves and their families against criminals that won’t follow any of the laws being considered by Rep. Maloney’s committee.
Hughes told the committee there are laws already on the books that need to be enforced and that, “education is the key to safety, not ineffective legislation.”
“My son’s death resulted from a criminal with an evil heart and a justice system failing to hold him accountable for laws he had already broken,” Hughes said. “The laws being discussed today are already implemented in cities across the country. We have decades of evidence proving they do not work.”
Rep. Maloney remained adamant that pushing more gun control on law-abiding Americans. Measures include a so-called “assault weapons” ban, magazine capacity restrictions, enacting an age-based gun ban, expanding “red flag” laws while not addressing concerns about protecting Constitutional Due Process rights for the accused and implementing universal background checks.
President Joe Biden delivered a national address from The White House last week that was largely seen as unhelpful. Meanwhile in the U.S. Senate, senators are taking a deliberate, measured approach to find common ground on proposals that can garner bipartisan support while also addressing concerns that could prevent future tragedies.
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