I’m at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fl, my broken foot propped up on a chair at the Constant Grind, sipping a latte. Tracy’s in a women’s Texas Hold’em tournament here and I have some time on my hands.
And finally, something bubbling up in the swamps of Florida prompts me once again to throw out some words to nibble on. I can often count on the Florida State Legislature to penetrate the hazy malaise that settles over this state that allows so much crazy legislation to slip by virtually unnoticed.
HB 209 would allow people to carry concealed weapons during emergencies even if they don’t have a license to carry.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a 17-1 vote. Miami Democrat Rep. Kionne McGhee, who cast the lone vote against the bill, said the amendment “makes me nervous” by potentially creating “local militias” during emergencies.
The Florida Sherriff’s Association opposes the bill. “There is a difference between owning a firearm and carrying one concealed on your person,” Electra Bustle, a lobbyist for the Florida Sheriffs Association, told the House committee on Thursday. “Owning a firearm is a right. Carrying concealed is a privilege and it is a privilege that is earned by showing a higher degree of training and proficiency with a firearm.”
But that isn’t slowing the bill down much. The NRA is lobbying heavily for it, and our governor Rick Scott, seeking re-election this year, isn’t about to chill his cozy relationship with such a generous association.
When the chief lawyer for the Florida Department of Military expressed some, and mind you, some reservations about the bill at a committee meeting, NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer (former NRA president and member of the board of directors) apparently flew directly to Gov. Scott, who apparently rang up Major General Emmitt R. Titshaw, and within a day the Florida National Guard came out in support of the bill. General Titshaw might be a general, but Scott is still his boss. It’s likely that the chief lawyer for the Florida Department of Military will be seeking employment elsewhere, most likely in another state.
Florida already leads the nation in concealed carry permits at more than a million. Which means that for every man, woman or child in Florida, 1 in 20 will be packing.
Relative to HB209, in Florida no permit is required to purchase or posses a rifle, shotgun or handgun. So it’s hard to tell how many rifles, handguns and shotguns are floating around Florida. HB209 would allow “individuals who have not qualified for a license to keep a firearm on their person “while complying with a mandatory evacuation” during an event such as a riot, hurricane or wildfire.”
So what our legislature wants to do here in Florida during some of the most high stress, volatile situations imaginable (riot, hurricane, wildfire), the legislature wants as many of those stressed-out people as possible to be carrying weapons, that is, if they want. Regardless of whether or not they have had any training at all in the proper use and responsibilities incumbent on concealed carry. And who wouldn’t want to? If this thing goes through, I sure as hell will want to. Dam!!! But I’ll need to hook up with someone with a Thompson submachine gun. It’s the only chance I’ll really have.
Remember, this is also the state that pioneered the “stand your ground” and “no duty to retreat” laws. From NRA-ILA site: “Under Florida law, there is no “duty to retreat” if you are attacked in any place you have a lawful right to be. Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.”
I haven’t been here during a hurricane yet, but I do know that when low-lying and coastal areas are evacuated, highways are backed up for miles, lines are long, tempers are short.
So when the hurricanes come, and they do, and evacuations are ordered, and they will be, those getting to the front of the line will have the option of getting there, guns ablaze, because by God their lives are in peril and getting to the front of the line will be necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.
Any chance this thing will pass?
The President of the Senate is a Republican. The President pro tempore of the Senate is a Republican. The Majority Leader of the Senate is a Republican. The Speaker of the House is a Republican. The Speaker pro tempore of the House is a Republican. The Majority Leader of the House is a Republican. In the House, there are 74 Republicans and 45 Democrats. In the Senate there are 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats. In Florida, getting elected Republican requires a lockstep understanding with the NRA.
The one person to vote against the bill in committee was a Democrat.
I’m giving it a pretty fair chance of passing.
Some information in this blog was gleaned from The Palm Beach Post, Saturday 29 March, and some from CBS Miami, March 27. The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. Rg