Florida Legislator Wants Punishment for Murder Reduced!

Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up! Talk about truth being stranger than fiction.

On October 17th, 2019 Florida Senator Bracy (D – Orange County) filed a bill that just defies logic or common sense. While most bills are designed to try and solve some issue or address a error in past laws, this one is unique!

Florida Senate Bill 564 – Murder

General Bill by Bracy. Murder“Revising the elements of murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree; revising the elements of what constitutes felony murder, for murder in the second degree; deleting provisions relating to felony murder, for murder in the third degree; authorizing persons convicted under certain murder provisions to file a petition with the sentencing court to have his or her murder conviction vacated or to be resentenced, as applicable, on or after a specified date, etc.”

You see, Sen. Bracy thinks that if we lower the punishment for certain “types” of murders it will help to reduce the “prison overcrowding” and more “fairly” address a person’s role in a murder. What? What part of a murder is not a serious crime?

This is what he wrote to justify the bill: “WHEREAS, there is a need for statutory changes to more equitably sentence offenders in accordance with their level of involvement in homicides, and WHEREAS, it is a bedrock principle of the law and of equity that a person should be punished for his or her actions according to his or her level of individual culpability, and WHEREAS, it is necessary to amend Florida’s felony murder rule to limit convictions and subsequent sentencing so that the laws of this state fairly address the culpability of the individual and assist in the reduction of prison overcrowding, which partially results from lengthy sentences that are not commensurate with the culpability of the individual…”

Sen. Bracy wants to reduce the level of punishment for some levels of murder, if you are involved in a violent felony like robbery or sexual battery and someone is killed. In what world does that make any type of sense? It does not seem to matter to Sen. Brady that the murder rate nationally has been going down over the last 20+ years or so. Facts and reality do not seem to matter to this Senator.

Murder rate down over many years.

You have to ask yourself why in the world would anyone want to do this? What motivation would one have for wanting to reduce prison time and the seriousness of murder charges? One can only guess.

We have had a decline in the Murder rate nationwide over the last couple of decades, and it’s not by making the punishment less for murder. Maybe the good Senator should look at making other laws have more serious punishments and making enforcement a priority? Like maybe raise the level of crime for using a firearm to commit a serious crime? How about mandatory time for using a firearm in a violent felony? Instead of trying to pass meaningless firearms control laws that will do nothing to reduce murders or crimes, make the use of a firearm in a crime even more punitive!

I am sorry but this legislation is one of the stupidest things I have seen in years. Want to read it for yourself go here: http://bit.ly/2W44OXH

The Ban Assault Rifle Movement is Misled, Lied to and Down Right Manipulated.

Actually the whole anti-firearms movement is.

After finishing reading the new 2018 FBI report “2018 Crime in the United States” I am not surprised to find that crime is still down, murders are still down and those who are fighting tooth and nail to ban “assault rifles” are just plain uninformed. They are allowing themselves to be manipulated by a few powerful people with agendas.

When one of these folks claims that the deaths by these “weapons of war” is a crisis and needs to be dealt with now, one simple question should be all that is needed to show how poorly informed they are. Ask any of them, “How many people died from being shot with a rifle in 2018, and how many died by being beaten to death by hands and feet? If they can’t answer that simple question they are just repeating things they have heard the leaders of the anti-rights groups say.

When dealing with those poor misinformed and misled folks, be kind and point out to them that they are in need of education. Give them the link, hand them the report, or point out to them the reality of the numbers. Numbers that do not bear up the hysteria of the assault weapons ban folks.

First rifles (that’s all rifle kinds together not just “assault rifles”) are one of the lessor used firearms to murder people. What the above chart does not show is that the FBI reports 297 cases where criminals were shot lawfully while citizens defended themselves. That’s right more people are documented in the report having killed criminals than people were killed with rifles.

Also important to note is that knives or sharp objects, hands and feet and blunt objects all killed more people than rifles of all kinds did. Why are these people not trying to ban those things? Because they have been lied to and told that rifles kill thousands of people each year.

Murder is down from 2016 and 2017 in 2018. If you look at the rate of murder in the US per 100K people you get the idea we are actually pretty low and on a even trend over the last 10 years and far below the rate back in the 90’s and before. But we have a crisis?

When you are discussing the firearms rights issue or murder problem in the US, just ask them for numbers. They can’t or won’t say them because if they do, they lose all of the reasoning for the entire movement.

Sorry anti-firearms rifle folks, and especially sorry to all those that have fallen for the lies and misleading statements form those who want to restrict your rights even more. They do not have anything to stand on other than emotions.

I welcome any of them to a debate on these topics. But be warned I deal in reality and facts, not lies and emotions.

Florida House Bill 175, Needs a Fair Hearing!

FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE ALERT! OUR RIGHTS NEED YOUR VOICE!

Fla House Bill 175 (HB 175) – Repealing provision of Chapter 790 relating to seizure of firearms because of disability, repealing the 21-year-old age limit for purchase of firearms (including rifles), defining “handgun” and repealing the waiting period for purchase of long guns, repealing the “bump fire stock ban, and repeals the “risk protection orders” seizure of firearms.

HB 175 has been assigned to committees for hearing and review. Yesterday afternoon (01/16/2017) HB 175 by Rep. Hill and Sabatini was referred to the following committees: Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee. While it has not been scheduled for any hearings yet, if you are a firearms rights and Constitutional supporter you should support this Bill. It is time to make your voices heard. This Bill needs to be scheduled for hearings and a committee vote.

The Chairs of each committee decide what Bills get heard, and they can stop a Bill dead in its tracks by simply ignoring it. If they do not take it up for hearing, it dies a quiet death. We want this Bill to be heard and we need to make sure they know it has support from the law-abiding firearms owners of Florida.

Please take a few minutes in the next couple of days to email or call the Chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Rep. James “J.W.” Grant and Vice Chair Rep. Stan McClain and tell them to put the Bill up for hearing and a vote and that you, a law-abiding citizen of Florida support it! They have a meeting scheduled Jan 23rd, 2019 but the Bill is not on the agenda yet. Let’s see if we can get that changed!

Emails: James “J.W.” Grant – james.grant@myfloridahouse.gov  

Twitter: @JamesGrantFl, Phone: (850) 717-5064

                Stan McClain – stan.mcclain@myfloridahouse.gov  Twitter: @RepMcClain, Phone: (850) 717-5023

While many of us feel very strongly about the Unconstitutional issues this Bill would fix, please be respectful and concise when emailing to them. We want them to be on our side, not against it.

In the Subject line, please include “Support HB 175” as part of your subject.

If you happen to be on Twitter I also use it at @CmdrCW, but I may not be as tolerant of the anti-rights people there as I am here. 😉  

Why do we “need” AR-15 rifles or any other firearm?

Recently during a very one-sided debate, I was shouted at and asked why I “needed” an AR-15 or other rifles like that. I was also told that only the police and government should have those types of firearms.

Those comments made me shiver. The fact that people who are discussing basic Constitutional rights do not know what the basis of a right is, and why we should not allow them to be restricted or removed anymore than they are.

The first question as to why I “need” an AR-15 or other firearm is one of the core reasons for the 2nd Amendment. I do not ‘need” anything. I have the “right” to peacefully and lawfully possess an AR-15 or other firearm because it’s my choice. A “right” is just that, I can exercise it if I want to or not. Just like I can exercise my right to free speech or not. I can choose to be silent if I do not want to use that right, but if I do, as I am here, then there is nothing that should stop me if I am not harming anyone. Just as my right to own firearms is just that, my right, and should not be restricted if I am not harming anyone unlawfully. That’s why it’s a right and not a “need”.

And when they asked why I thought I should have them and not just the police and government, I almost fell out of my chair. Did they not know basic history? Our forefathers went to war to divest themselves of a government that was trying to do just that, remove arms from the citizens to make ruling over them easier. Of the numerous countries where the removal of the ability of the citizens to defend themselves, especially against a government that became tyrannical, dictatorial or worse, resulted in millions dying at the hands of that very government should have been enough. Then there is the minor issue of the police only having the guns. Having been one for 35 years, I am here to tell you police cannot protect you all the time. You are not able to rely on the few police officers out there that might just be lucky enough to be around the corner and arrive in the nick of time to save you. And the minor issue that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it is not the duty of the police to protect you as an individual. So, if not theirs than who’s is it? It’s yours!

So when you ask why does someone need an Ar-15, we don’t need them. We have the right to have them. We don’t need them, unless of course we do to defend our family or country, from the government itself. Then it may be to late since some want them all removed because of the actions of a few murderers. And please don’t use that old worn out, you can never defeat the US Military with AR-15’s. I don’t expect a lot of military folks would go along with orders to attack or harm US Citizens. But that just is coming form a U.S. Army veteran. Had I been ordered to do so I would have simply refused.

So good luck with your arguments we don’t need these firearms. No we have the right to have them and until such a time as that right is repealed (that’s another topic) you have no right to tell me, a law abiding U.S. Citizen, that I don’t. As a side note, of the Bill of Rights, which ones have the words “shall not be infringed” in them? And why? Maybe because our forefathers had seen just that, a government trying to infringe on the citizens it was supposed to serve not rule?

What Happens When Good Intentions go Wrong? When Fighting for Rights Become Second to Power and Money?

What happens when good intentions go wrong? What happens when people get used to being in power and controlling everything? What happens when they feel the money flow is threatened? What happens when the rules/laws are not followed by the very people that wrote them? What happens when people feel that their “good thing” may be found out? Their way is the only way!

Does that make you think of the state or federal government? Federal Senators or State Legislators?

Well, it sounds like it. But what if I told you that is a “grassroots” pro-firearms rights group? What if you found out that the group you thought stood for all the right things, actually wasn’t as stand up as you thought? What if you were a part of the leadership of that group and when you questioned where the money went, and why things were being done the way they were, you got labeled as a troublemaker and were no longer welcomed by the leadership. Even to the point of not wanting you to talk at all to the rest of the members. What if when you ask for something as simple as transparency, you get all kinds of anger and heat? What if this leadership told you that being a part of the leadership was a good thing, as you got to go to a meeting every year at the expense of the members? Sounds good right? Nothing wrong with that by itself right? But add that to the other things and you start to think.  

You would think that a rights group that ask its members for money would be more than happy to tell those members where that money goes. Like the NRA posting its yearly financial report. Nothing to hide, right? You would think that a group that professes to be for rights would honor the rights of all, including its own members to ask questions and to question what and why things are done. 

If you were paying to be a member of a group, and that group failed to follow its own rules it had written for itself, what would you do? Speak up? Be silent and become part of the silent majority? Or just ignore it all?

A group that supposedly stands up for people that fails to follow its own rules and bylaws, fails to have membership meetings as it requires, failed for years to post where the money goes, only to do so when it is forced to, fails to keep its members informed of just what it is doing and what it needs them to do, is not much of a “grassroots” stand up group if you ask me. But then, they would not want you asking me. If you did I would say it’s time for a deep look inside, time for a look at who and how things are done and why, as it is written in the bylaws itself. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even when it starts out as good intentions.

Is it wrong to question things? Is it wrong to point out that they (the leadership) need to do a better job of being transparent with financials and what they are doing to help people get their gun rights back. Is it wrong to be the voice of the members that have no idea what the rules are. How can people question what they do not know is wrong or going on? Where is the openness and honesty? 

Honesty you say? Did you know how many members are in these groups? I was told they do not want those numbers made public. Really? Why? Yet we can testify to numbers before legislators, but when asked by a board member, it’s secret? Think ethics, honesty, integrity, and transparency and ask yourself, does my group stand for these things and follow them? 

They could be such a driving force for good and the firearms rights of all the people they profess to represent, but fail to see what has happened. And we sure don’t want the members and public to know about it, that could cause “change”, and we all know that is a bad thing. They even have a Board of Directors, selected by the two executive members. But they don’t vote on much, as the two executive directors have final say so on everything regardless of the other Directors. Heck, the other “Directors” can’t even call anything up for a vote, the Executive Directors have to do that. The Directors are there just to settle disagreements between the two Execs. They said so themselves, and yes I have that in writing. Some of the leadership is afraid to speak out because they know how they will get treated, so they remain silent, yet thank people who speak up, and yes that is in writing also. When leadership is afraid to speak up to other leaders, what does that tell you?

And no I am not talking about the NRA, they do all those things the right way. This group questions our government about things all the time, yet we are not allowed to question our own “support” group about itself. Before you send money to ANY group professing to be fighting for your rights,  find out how the money is used, how you can become a part of it and do things to support your rights, how often do they send out information on issues and things of interest, do they assist you in learning about the issues and current Bills being submitted in the Capital (State and Federal). Ask questions, if they don’t like questions, then that should be a red flag.

Fighting for your rights is as simple as signing up for notices from your state and federal representatives and senators and writing them and letting them know how you feel. Writing opinion pieces based on facts and real-world issues and sending them to your local news media outlets. Post rebuttals to opposing pieces, be heard. Don’t settle for “we are working on it, but can’t talk about it right now”. Those opposing your rights talk about it all the time, you should be also! Write your representatives and tell them what you expect of them, they are hired by you, to represent you, and they can be fired (voted out) just as easy. You only have this last election cycle to look at to see that. Educate people on the real facts surrounding firearms and self-defense, most people who oppose your rights are woefully uneducated about the topics you care about and know, so educate them. What is your group dong to educate the public at large? If you do those things you will be doing more than some groups and most people. Become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 

Florida Officers are NOT Taught Firearms Law in the Police Academy.

I can only speak for my state, Florida, but I have found something that is very eye opening and needs to be addressed by the State of Florida.

I found that in the Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Curriculum there is no mention anywhere of the laws and procedures relating to firearms and Concealed Carry License holders and laws, and it is vital that it be addressed immediately as it could result in the serious consequences for both my fellow law enforcement officers, and the law abiding citizens of Florida!

I have been teaching and training law enforcement and corrections officers in Florida for more than 34 years. I currently am the Law Enforcement/ Corrections Training Coordinator at Santa Fe College, Institute of Public Safety in Gainesville, and have been there for going on 20 years now. I have been very active in the past in writing and developing the FDLE/CJSTC Curriculum that we use to teach in our basic courses, acting as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for FDLE on several subjects.

As part of my duties as coordinator, it is important that I review the current curriculums and make sure that we are teaching all of the needed information to make our officers/ deputies the very best informed and trained LEO’s we can. In addition, the more knowledgeable our LEO’s are the better they are equipped to handle situations that arise during their careers, and also helps to keep them from being liable for any misdeeds due to the lack of knowledge or training. It was while reviewing last years and this year’s Basic LEO curriculum that I found a serious omission in the text and materials.

I am sure that if I asked you how much time we spend on the firearms laws in the State of Florida in the Basic Academy you would probably say at least several hours, right? I mean with over 1.7 million concealed weapons license holders, you would think that we would address these laws and the proper way of dealing with this group of law abiding citizens correct? Well, we do not. There is actually 0 (zero) time or lessons dedicated to the instruction of the Firearms laws in the state of Florida. Even though Officers are expected to know and deal with these laws almost on a daily basis. In fact, we do not cover the laws concerning the CWL holders of Florida and what is legal and what is not as it pertains to citizens possessing firearms.

There are even only a few very brief, very short mentions of the Florida Chapter 790 in the entire training text. One of which simply mentions that it is one of the warrantless arrest exceptions for “Carrying a Firearm in Violation of an Injunction (s. 790.233, F.S.)” and “Carrying a Concealed Weapon (s. 790.02, F.S.)”[1] in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 mentions it as one of the crimes in Chapter 2, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Elements of crimes where it covers “carrying a Concealed Weapon (without a license), s. 790.01, Misdemeanor/ Felony”[2]. That is it! That is the entire law enforcement curriculum on dealing with firearms laws.

It is understood that we cannot cover every law and every situation in the Basic Law Enforcement Academies. I know this better than most people. But I also know that with the increase in Concealed Weapons License’s in the State of Florida (now over 1.7 million!) officers are encountering the law abiding citizen that is legally armed more and more. And with several current cases and lawsuits against officers and departments for unlawful arrests[3], or otherwise unknowingly violating a law-abiding, licensed citizens’ rights and getting complaints filed against them, we need to do something to better protect our officers, departments and the law abiding citizens of Florida.

I first discovered this lack of information when working on an in-service training curriculum with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Training Unit. They were getting complaints about officers disarming CWL holders during routine traffic stops and were investigating the legality of this issue and trying to better educate their Deputies. I assisted with the curriculum due to my involvement in this subject matter for a number of years.  We developed and used a very good curriculum and taught their deputies during in-service about the current state laws concerning the carrying of firearms by citizens. Both lawful and unlawful, and the training was well received.

The major issue at hand is the practice of officers “disarming” lawfully carrying citizens on the side of the street without any further reason than they are armed. Any handling of a firearm (which the LEO may not be familiar with) on the side of the road or elsewhere is potentially dangerous. It has been discussed and there is case law to support the view that officers, while being able to use Stop and Frisk (F.S.S. 901.151) when someone is under investigation for a criminal act, and when finding that the person may be armed AND is a danger to the officer, the officer may frisk for weapons, it does not cover frisking or disarming a law abiding citizen, who is not breaking any laws other than a possible civil infraction of traffic law. Officers can and do ask motorist and passengers if they are armed, and rightly can do so. But by Florida law it is not covered that they can then, upon learning they are a licensed, lawfully carrying citizen, disarm that person and deprive them of their property. In fact, the courts have held otherwise. In fact case law states that it is not permitted.[4] In fact, Florida law does not require a citizen to notify an officer they are lawfully armed unless the officer directly asks the person if they are armed (790.06).

In order to prevent citizen complaints and lawsuits for violation of citizens’ rights, do away with the unnecessary handling of firearms on the side of the street, and to increase the trust of the citizens with our police officers statewide (which is vital right now considering current events) I respectfully request that the CJSTC consider adding a lesson on Chapter 790, Firearms Laws and include as part of that, “Law Enforcement interactions with Concealed Weapons License Holders”.

This training is vital to our current situation and may help prevent unnecessary litigation and even possible injury or worse happening to one of our LEO’s or a law abiding citizen. And it is important to remind everyone involved that there are multiple cases now of lawfully armed citizens saving the lives of Police Officers across the nation! Lawful gun owners are not the problem or the enemy!

 

Refs:

1 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

2 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

3 Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

4 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

[1] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

[2] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

[3] Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

[4] 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

 

Mandating Self-Defense Insurance for those that Carry Firearms – good or bad idea?

“The cost of using your firearm in self-defense can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have to hire a lawyer, get yourself bailed out of jail, and fight for yourself in court.”

There has been some back and forth in various media and groups on the internet about possible gun control laws that would require a person who carries a firearm for self-defense to have insurance in case the firearm is used in any incident. And some legislators thought about making it mandatory to get a concealed carry permit. I don’t think I need to tell you this is a bad idea on many levels, but just in case, let me try.

First, you should NEVER have to pay to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But even that is still not a reason good enough for some. Second, by requiring insurance to be allowed to carry a concealed or open carry firearm, you are limiting the exercise of a right to only those who can afford to purchase the insurance. That is basically “disenfranchising” to those with a lower socio-economic status. Third, the market is very limited in the choices of insurance carriers, and there is no “standard” that one can look for in a company.

Read the rest of the story here…