Sometimes I get very frustrated with the entire pro-firearms and pro-rights movement in general. I recently had to take some time off for a death in the family and did not write or share things online as much as normal. I did, however, read a bit more and was a little shocked at what I took as a lack of activity, or maybe concern, on the part of those who profess to be champions for peoples right to bear arms, and self-defense in general.
If I have learned anything from my involvement in the past several years in the pro-rights movement, it is that information (and information sharing) is key. The more you are informed, and inform others, the more people share information, and even sometimes, get involved in actually doing something. Actively participating in something that is designed to help you maintain and even get back some of your rights the government has restricted over the years should be up there on the list of things to do. Without those rights, you are nothing more than a government regulated possession, beholden to the government for your very existence. Is that how you want to live? Not me.
We all enjoy many freedoms in the United States of America. We have the freedom of speech (most of the time), the freedom of religion (or freedom from religion) and the freedom to be secure in your person and home (again most of the time), but like all of our freedoms, these things have been scrutinized over time, and on occasion, they have been modified or changed or otherwise restricted by over-reaching Judges and Courts to try and justify actions of the Government, or to try and restrict the actions of the Government, more the former and much less of the later.
In Florida this year we have many anti-firearms bills being submitted by our Legislators that are nothing more than bills designed to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens even more than they already are. Most are emotionally driven, pointless responses to the senseless murders of innocent people. They act like new laws will stop an evil person bent on murder from committing that murder. If the punishment for murder (life in prison or death in Florida) is not enough, what makes them think more laws will help?
It is not enough for some that you have to pay a fee to get a license to exercise your Constitutional right to bear arms and protect yourself (which in itself is a form of discrimination against the poor, who need it the most to protect themselves from violence), it’s not enough you must have a background check, not be a felon, not be addicted to drugs or alcohol, not have been deemed mentally incompetent, and other things. But they want to restrict where and what and how you can exercise the little bit of freedom you still have left even more.
Bills to ban “bump-stocks” (SB 456), even though they may have been used in only one crime in the entire USA and even that has not been confirmed. Bills to ban almost every type of rifle or handgun and magazine that holds more than a certain number of rounds (10) (HB 219), and even a Bill to require a person who wants to carry a concealed firearm undergo a mental health exam and pass it (HB 269). There are many more anti-rights bills but those are a few examples.
Then there are the champions of our rights who are trying to get some rights restored by filing bills to lessen restrictions on where you can carry firearms, like in places of worship that have schools (HB 113) and allowing certain citizens to carry concealed firearms on school property if they are designated by the school administration or board (HB 621). Even a bill that would greatly expand the places citizens could carry firearms if they were involved in certain activities (SB 1242, which as of yesterday was not considered in the Judiciary Committee, effectively killing the bill).
But what is missing in this whole process is the Florida Citizens who are concerned about their rights. You mention these issues to most people and unless they are concealed weapons license holders, they are almost to a person, completely apathetic. Having the attitude that if it does not affect them directly it does not affect them at all. They also do not see a need to make their voices heard. While this can be understood in today’s immediate gratification world and the information overload we get every day from the media and internet, you would think that at least most people would be concerned about a loss or further restriction of a Constitutionally protected right.
Then there are the concealed weapon permit holders. Those that would be directly affected by these bills. In Florida, we have over 1.8 MILLION concealed weapons license holders. The most in the nation. Yet when you inform people of these bills and tell people how and why the bill is a good or bad bill, you seem to get a yawn out of most. They have that same energy as a stationary object and the laws of physics seem to apply to their taking part in the political process.
Newton’s First Law. Newton’s First Law states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.
This seems to apply very well to most people today. They see the political process as something that does not involve them. It is always something that they either will not take part in, or find too hard to understand and unwilling to do so much as even send an email to a legislator voicing their concerns or support on an issue. It is sad, and disheartening to see and hear this.
Just imagine the impact on a legislator if they all of a sudden received a couple of hundred thousand emails, or phone calls, telling them that these citizens they represent do or do not want a certain bill to pass. Even better imagine if a couple of hundred people showed up at the capital to speak to the committees in support or against a particular bill. What if just 50 people packed the chamber for the hearing all united on one issue? Would it help? Of course, it would, there is no way it could not.
So why then is it that only a handful of people seem to really want to or are willing to take the few minutes out of their week to email someone or share a message about a bill that would do these things to Florida’s law-abiding citizens? Why is there such apathy in the state with the most concealed carry licenses of all the states? Why are my fellow citizens so lazy, or uninformed, or even unwilling to do something about their own rights being restricted or expanded? That is the million dollar question!
Now is the time for people to become involved in the process that controls their very rights and how you can exercise them. We are at a point in this country when we are very divided and polarized by certain issues, but when it comes to your Constitutional Rights, there are only 2 sides. Those for your rights, and those wanting to restrict them. They will use things like mass murderers, emotions, and sometimes even outright lies to try and convince the uninformed it is for their own good and “safety” that you have fewer rights than before. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Freedom is not safe and it never was meant to be. Your safety and that of your family is your responsibility and no one else. Not even the police are responsible for your safety (Read the US Supreme Court decisions on this if you don’t believe me).
The old saying is as true today as it was many years ago when it was first spoken, but I am taking liberty and modifying it a bit to fit the times we are in: “For evil to succeed, all that is needed is for good, law-abiding people to do nothing, and they will lose the very right’s they so cherish.” Become informed, read, listen, and become involved in groups that represent your views and rights, otherwise, you may not have them in the very near future!