By: Teresa Mull
A Florida state representative just introduced a bill to repeal a slew of gun control laws passed in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting last year.
Rep. Mike Hill’s (R-Pensacola) bill, HB 175, would overturn the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO – also known as “red flag gun confiscation”) law. It would reverse the state’s ban on bump stocks and selling firearms to adults under the age of 21, and also do away with required waiting periods to take possession of legally purchased firearms.
“As lawmakers, we swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. This gun control law was in clear violation of that oath. That’s why I’m committed to right the wrong done last session,” Hill said.
Sweeping, Massive Gun Control
In March 2018, three weeks after the Parkland school shooting, then-governor Rick Scott (R), who is now a U.S. Senator, ushered in massive gun control with his signature on SB 7026.
“The new Florida law imposes a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns, raises the minimum age for buying those weapons to 21, and bans the possession of bump stocks,” The Washington Post reported at the time. “The bill does make it easier for law enforcement and judges to remove guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others…”
Hundreds Have Guns Seized
By July 2018, more than 450 people in Florida had already been ordered to surrender their guns under the red flag law.
Attorney Kendra Parris told WFTS Action News (Tampa Bay) that ERPOs were “starting to reveal some disturbing grey areas, specifically among individuals who don’t have histories of violence or mental illness.
“‘These are individuals who are often exercising their First Amendment rights online, who are protecting constitutionally protected speech online,’ she said. ‘Maybe it was odious, maybe people didn’t like it, but they were hit with the risk protection order because of it.’”
NRA Sues over 21 Rule
Shortly after Florida’s comprehensive gun control package was signed into law, the National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of two 19-year-old Florida citizens challenging the law’s provision raising the minimum age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21.
“The NRA maintains that Florida’s age limit violates the constitutional rights of young adults, alleging that it prohibits ‘an entire class of law-abiding, responsible citizens from fully exercising the right to keep and bear arms—namely, adults who have reached the age of 18 but are not yet 21,’” The Washington Post reported.
“At 18 years of age,” the NRA argued, “law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights. At 18, citizens are eligible to serve in the military—to fight and die by arms for the country.”
Unconstitutional Bump Stock Ban
Nikolas Cruz did not use a bump stock when he carried out his heinous actions at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The assailant in the Las Vegas concert massacre did reportedly have several guns in his arsenal with bump stocks, though the ATF never did inspect the shooter’s guns before it recommended banning bump stocks. The Trump administration approved a federal regulation banning bump stocks in December 2018.
Ted Patterson points out in Gunpowder Magazine why government interference in such matters is so dangerous:
Banning bump stocks doesn’t affect most gun owners, and most of them don’t care about bump stocks, but the precedent such action sets, especially at the federal level, is significant. There is a bigger reason why bump stocks matter. Why do we need the federal government and state governments in the business of regulating, banning, and otherwise meddling with gun accessories? Isn’t it bad enough they are banning guns and magazines left and right?
That’s why many gun owners are determined to fight this – not so much for what banning bump stocks does, but for what it may lead to.
Florida a Major Battleground
Floridian gun owners will need to fight tooth and nail to keep what few Second Amendment rights they have left.
“…A sizable percentage of Republicans in the Legislature have already tarnished their records by voting for radical gun control, including bans on firearms accessories, bans on entire classes of people from owning firearms, and instituting mandatory government waiting periods to obtain guns,” Brenden Boudreau reported in Gunpowder Magazine ahead of the 2018 primary elections.
“To counter these disastrous developments, Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights, D.J. Parten is working with conservative members of the Republican caucus to … repeal Governor Rick Scott’s gun control.”
“Rick Scott and Florida lawmakers punished law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a criminal with the passage of SB 7026,” Parten said. “I applaud Rep. Hill for filing this important legislation to restore the rights of law-abiding Floridians and look forward to working with him to advance it.”
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.