By: Luke Rohlfing
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting that left 17 people dead, virtually the entire political class, backed by anti-gun high school students working the media circuit, began demanding gun control. Anti-gun activists have been able to achieve some level of gun control at the state-level, but have so far been unsuccessful federally.
In Florida, Senate Bill 7026 was rushed through the legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott on March 9, less than a month after the February 14 shooting. The bill added a number of anti-gun provisions to state law. The largest change enacted with the new law raises the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21.
Also included in the bill is a ban on the sale or possession of “bump fire stocks.” This part of the bill is problematic for multiple reasons. First, a bump stock wasn’t even used in the Parkland, Florida shooting, and the law also includes no grace period. The second the bill was signed into law, thousands of Florida residents who own bump stocks became criminals.
On top of that, the bill also gives law enforcement greater power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed to be mentally ill. This part of the law has already been used to seize four firearms from a Broward County man. A Broward County judge signed an order stating the man is not mentally fit to own firearms, and the man will be forced to prove his innocence in order to regain possession of his guns.
At the federal level, no gun control bill has yet passed either house of Congress, but anti-gun members of both parties have been pushing to change that. Republican Sen. John Cornyn (TX) filed a bill along with Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy (CT) to expand required reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill is known as “Fix-NICS” and is being touted as a bipartisan measure.
Many gun rights supporters are unsure about the real intentions of Fix-NICS. Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, made his concerns known in an email blast to his organization’s 4.5 million members and supporters, stating the Fix-NICS bill would:
"Steadily build the largest gun control database in U.S. history … punish states for not handing over tens of thousands of private records of hundreds of thousands of gun owners to Big Brother in Washington, D.C,." "un-repeal the Obama-era Social Security Gun Ban," and "expand the ‘Veterans Gun Ban’ in to other departments and agencies."
It’s clear that despite what some Republican Senators are saying, these measures don’t have the support of many gun rights activists. It’s unclear what will happen federally with gun control, but rest assured that Gunpowder Magazine will keep you up-to-date on any developments.
Luke Rohlfing is a contributor at Gunpowder Magazine, writing from Colorado. Contact him at [email protected].
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