Yesterday the Florida Legislature passed SB 7026. A bill entitled ” Marjory Stoneman
Douglas High School Public Safety Act” in order to provoke emotional responses and not actual logical thought. A Bill to “do something” even if parts of the bill make no sense or are outright unconstitutional. The introductory summary itself is 11 pages long! That should tell you a little about the bill itself.
A Bill that started out with good intentions took a turn for the worse when legislators started adding things to it in response to emotional pleas and unfounded fears.
This bill lays out training for people that want to be armed in the schools. Called the “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program”, again an emotional appeal to people. Yes, he was a brave and outstanding human that protected his charges and was a true hero. What about all those that have done the same before him? What it does say is that teachers CANNOT take part in this program. That means other school staff may participate, but not teachers unless they are a veteran or former law enforcement officer. So that means that it will be staff or administrative staff that will be armed. Or others hired to do just this duty. The training the must undergo is the same training in firearms that law enforcement gets in the police academy (I teach this almost daily) and then some additional topics.
While this is a step in the right direction, the legislators could not leave it at that. Then they went on to BAN 18-20-year-olds from buying longs guns from dealers, private sales are not illegal. Now what kind of sense does that make (even though it is federally permitted). Now you say what is wrong with that? If you are an 18-20-year-old you see a lot wrong with it. It is a restriction of your 2nd Amendment rights, to begin with. Our young people who legally are considered adults can serve in the military (where they carry a firearm (rifle and pistol) and operate million or billion dollar equipment are not mature enough to own a rifle of any kind. Oh and let us not forget they can VOTE, which we are hoping they will in the thousands in Florida and let those legislators who voted away their rights know just what they thought of the loss of their rights.
It is obvious that this is an unconstitutional portion of the law. Anyone that has half a brain would have seen this and voted this portion out of the Bill. But no, we have to punish someone, even if they have had nothing to do with the crimes involved. Oh and a minor fact that the average age of the mass murderer of this type is 35, not 18-20.
The Bill also adds language that allows police to break into your home if you are subject to an ex parte order (order to seek mental treatment) and may take all of your firearms and ammunition into custody. While against the idea behind this potion, I am against the way it is written. It places to much burden on the police to be the deciders and they should not be. If your firearms are to be taken into custody it should be decided by the same court that decided you needed to be forcibly taken into custody for an examination. Cops are not psychologist nor are they judges and we do not want to be.
Part of the Bill I applaud is the creation of “community action treatment teams” which will help find and treat those who need it. And any steps in helping the identifying and treatment of mental illness is a HUGE step int he right direction. But it should not be tied to other parts of this Bill.
Also in this bill is a new “written threats to kill” section that would make it an arrestable offense to “or any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat” commits a felony. Again this itself is not a bad thing and could have easily been a separate bill that added to the current laws already on the books about such things.
And of course, no anti-rights anti-firearms bill would be complete without banning those terrors of the civilized world “bump stocks”. The minor issues that bump-stocks have never been reported as being used in any mass murder, it is the focus of the uninformed and emotionally driven. The FACT that you do not need a bump stock to make a firearm operate at near or at automatic fire levels and can fire much more accurately without one is of minor consequence. Here is a link to a short video showing what a practiced shooter can do, without a bump stock and with a standard semi-auto rifle. And of course, never mind the fact that they are outlawing something that makes thousands of Floridians automatically FELONS for simply owning these accessories used in no reported crimes to date. And for those sreaming at the screen “What about Las Vegas?” It has not been reported in any official report from the FBI or other law enforcement that a bump stock was used in that crime. Only that it was found on one of the rifles in the room. So stop screaming.
Legislators tried adding scores and scores of amendments to this already bad bill. Everything from outright gun bans, assault weapons bans, high capacity magazine bans and more. Thank goodness that those did not make it, the original is bad enough.
Now it is on to Gov. Rick Scott to sign or not sign. He has said he will take his time and read all 105 pages of this bill (yes a state law that is 105 pages long!) and hopefully he will see fit to line-item veto the parts of this bill that do not deserve to see the light of day as a law. Gov. Scott, I encourage you to veto the unconstitutional 18-20-year-old ban, the pointless “bump stock” ban that makes felons out of law-abiding citizens n Florida. Line out the pointless 3 days waiting period for all gun sales.
Do this thing and you might have some positive things come out of this debacle of legislation that has done more to show Floridians how emotionally driven and not factually based our laws are. Let’s not address real problems and add in things that just make people feel good and punish law abiding citizens. Shame on our legislators for passing this bill in the form it is. You took 4 days to get very little accomplished. Something that could have been done months or weeks ago, and in fact was proposed by other BIlls, yet since you don’t like other legislators, you decided to try and make your own.
I can’t wait to see how 18-20 years olds vote in the next election. I will be personally asking my college students to make their voices heard!