The 2014 legislative session is shaping up to be heavy on pro-gun legislation. Below I have cited to a few of the important bills now working their way through various committees. I urge you to call you state representatives and urge them to support these measures.
1. SB-296 Concealed Carry During Mandatory Evacuation–Provides an exemption from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when complying with a mandatory evacuation order during a declared state of emergency. Restores the right to protect yourself and your family during an emergency, mandatory evacuation.
2. SB-1060 Zero Tolerance School Policies—Some have labeled this the “Pop Tart” Bill because it prohibits school officials from suspending or punishing innocent children for simulating firearms or weapons with fingers, pencils, or pastries while playing, or possessing photographs of or wearing t-shirts depicting firearms or weapons. It is a sad state of affairs in society that we need a bill forcing school officials to have to exercise a little common sense.
The Zero Tolerance school policies did not happen by accident. Totalitarians throughout history have focused on children as a means of advancing social policy. If children are taught to fear guns as something evil and that they will receive punishment for having or talking about them, then as adults it is hoped that they will abandon the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
3. SB-448 Threatened Use of Force –The intent of this bill is to stop abusive prosecutors from using 10-20-LIFE to prosecute people who in acts of self-defense, threaten to use deadly force against an attacker as a means to stop an attack. Prosecutorial abuse is a clear and present danger to constitutional liberties, the passage of this bill should prevent law abiding gun owners from facing unnecessary threats of prison in lieu of accepting a plea.
4. HB-255 Discrimination by Insurance Companies– This bill is intended to stop insurance companies from discriminating against policy holders who own firearms and ammunition.
Another important gun issue to be debated this session is the Stand Your Ground law. Stay tuned to Florida Gun Lawyer for updates on gun related legislation.
According to publicly available data, since Floridians were given the opportunity to carry concealed weapons in 1987, the state has issued in excess of 2.5 million licenses. Of those who have been issued licenses, only 168 or .00672% have committed firearms related crimes. Only criminals and governments like unarmed citizens. Florida leads the nation in laws supporting the lawful ownership and use of arms in defense of life, property and liberty. This data proves that individuals are fully capable of acting lawfully and responsibly.
Byrd said the president only has so much power and will face an uphill battle with Congress. Those proposals have been developed by a panel led by Biden.
“It’s going to be very difficult for Democrats to get anything through Congress. The Democrats or anti-gun rights side has said it will be hard. What I would propose is at state level. We’ve already seen Wyoming and Texas introduce legislation at state level to prohibit firearms rights infringement as well as 2nd amendment,” said Byrd.
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“It is our opinion that it will actually increase property values and bring business to the community,” Byrd told the commission. “There’s been no evidence presented by anyone that there will be real harm to those properties.”
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“At the last meeting there were a lot of people in opposition and we understand their concerns and that’s what we were here to offer rebuttal and that’s why we were here and the legislature of Florida has made it clear what the policy is and laws of Florida are should’ve been approved,” said Cord Byrd, attorney for the proposed gun range.”
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Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, a landmark decision that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states, I cautioned gun owners and constitutionalists that the battle is not over and that the opponents of liberty will not abandon their goal of taking away the right to keep and bear arms. Now we have the proof.
Speaking at a fundraiser event for the President, Michelle Obama said, “In just 13 months, we’re going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come…let’s not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices…let’s not forget the impact their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come.”
Recently, Time magazine asked recently retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens what he would fix about the American judicial system. Stevens’ response: “I would make all my dissents into majority opinions.
But then Time asked Stevens to single out one issue in particular, and he said, “I would change the interpretation of the Second Amendment.” Referring to the Court’s decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases that the Second Amendment protects individuals from federal, state and local infringements on their right to possess and carry arms, he added “The court got that quite wrong.”
In his dissent in Heller, Stevens claimed that “there is no indication that the Framers of the [Second] Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” And in his dissent in McDonald, he claimed that even if one assumed the Fourteenth Amendment protects a general right to self-defense, that didn’t mean that a person has a right to have a handgun. As if to suggest some logic to his theory, Stevens said “while some might favor handguns, it is not clear that they are a superior weapon for lawful self-defense.”
The next president will likely appoint at least two new justices. A second Obama term will tip the 5-4 balance to the progressive side. Once we get through the Republican primary squabble it is imperative that constitutionalists rally around the nominee if for no other reason than to ensure that supposedly least dangerous branch won’t become the opposite.
It took one hundred and forty-two years, but the Second Amendment now applies to the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the 5-4 decision the Supreme Court held that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental individual right which is fully applicable to the States as it is to the federal government. While the opinion is a victory for individual liberty on its face, I wonder if it sows the seeds for future defeat.
Most everyone agrees that McDonald is not the end of litigation but merely the beginning. Gun proponents will challenge every restriction on gun ownership, while the anti-gun politicians will erect a labyrinth of arcane rules and regulations (as is already happening in Washington D.C. and Chicago) to test the bounds of what is considered a reasonable restriction – anyone willing to take the over/under on when Mr. McDonald actually gets to own a handgun in Chicago? My first concern therefore is that the decision removes the issue of gun rights from the elected representatives of the citizens of each state, putting them in the hands of unelected and unpredictable federal judges. We know how well that usually works out.
Second, in both Heller (the decision regarding handgun ownership in Washington D.C.) and McDonald the majority opined that the Second Amendment contemplates “reasonable restrictions” to prohibit bearing arms in “sensitive places.” This unnecessary dicta is fraught with mischief. It is not hard to imagine a future court majority comprising Justices Sotomayor and Kagan ruling that reasonable restrictions include limitations on caliber size, magazine capacity or semi-automatic weapons, and that all other types of firearms are prohibited.
Third, could a future Sotomayor and Kagan majority find that “sensitive places” include all public places thus nullifying all right to carry permits? To protect “the children,” can the Court prohibit having a gun in any home where children under a certain age are present? Further, adding insult to injury they will use originalist and textualist arguments to support their liberty infringing decisions. Will they not say they are applying stare decisis, merely following the principles expressed by Justices Scalia and Alito? Will they not argue that they are being good textualists, interpreting the phrase “well-regulated”, which means well trained, to mean well regulated by the federal government? Perhaps a future Congress passes a law which says that gun ownership is only permissible in a well-regulated militia, what then?
I have also noticed that the anti-gun zealots were eerily quiet after the decision. Maybe because it is an election year they wanted to keep their powder dry, knowing that they lose when gun rights are a campaign issue. Or perhaps they know that McDonald is not that bad for them, needing only one more vote to implement their dream of a gun free America. I hope I am wrong and that someday McDonald will take its place in the pantheon of great Supreme Court decisions. Then again, maybe none of it matters, as Leonides said to Xerxes at Thermopylae, Molon labe.