In another unsuccessful attempt to pass gun control since the Parkland massacre, the Florida senate OVERTURNS a two-year ban on the sale of AR-15s just 15 MINUTES after it was approved!
Let’s face it! The 2nd Amendment gives the right of all people to keep and bear arms. No amount of gun control laws will stop crimininals from shooting innocent bystanders. If anything, instead of trying to pass gun control laws, the schools should be throwing away those ‘gun free zone’ signs and stepping up to train teachers to carry guns on campus.
The Florida state senate briefly approved a two-year freeze on the sale of AR-15 rifles on Saturday, before overturning the measure 15 minutes after the initial vote.
The vote to pass the bill came on an unrecorded voice vote, in which lawmakers shouted ‘yea’ or ‘nay’.
Senate President Joe Negron, a Republican, ruled that the amendment passed on the voice vote, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The measure then failed 21-17 on a recorded vote minutes later.
The no votes were all cast by Republicans, while two Republicans joined 15 Democrats on the yea votes.
The surprise vote came on an amendment to bill SB 7026, which would inject millions of dollars into mental health and school safety programs, as well as impose new limits on gun access for the first time in three decades in Florida.
Lawmakers debated the bill passionately on a rare weekend session, just weeks after the massacre that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Senator David Simmons, a Republican who opposes the ban, defended the need for civilians in a constitutional republic to keep and bear arms.
‘Our founding fathers weren’t talking about hunting, and they weren’t talking about protecting themselves from the thief down the street who might break in,’ he said, adding that citizens need guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government.
Simmons cited Adolph Hitler’s seizure of guns from German citizens as an example of the potential negative consequences of gun control measures.
Democrat Senator Kevin Rader, who is Jewish and represents Parkland, called the analogy ‘absolutely unfair’ and said he supported the ban on sales of AR-15s.
Controversy around AR-15s has grown after several high-profile mass shootings including the recent one in Parkland, Florida.
However roughly 90 per cent of the firearms homicides in the US are committed with handguns, in cases where the type of gun is known, according to the FBI.
If the Florida amendment temporarily banning AR-15 sales had passed in the state Senate, it is unlikely that it would have passed the state House, which is even more conservative.
The Senate session on Saturday was originally supposed to wrap up discussion by 1 pm. But senators extended the session to 9 pm as debate on numerous amendments extended for hours.
The Florida bill includes $18.3 million for mobile crisis teams working with the Department of Children and Families and the schools, $500,000 for mental health first aid training, and $69 million for mental health assistance to school districts.
It would also extend a three-day waiting period for handguns to all firearms, ban bump stocks and raise the age limit to purchase shotguns and rifles to 21, which is already the federal age limit for handguns.
The Senate is expected to approve the measure Monday and send it to the House, where leaders there hope to approve it in time for it to reach the governor’s desk before the session ends on March 9.
The Senate rejected nearly four dozen Democratic amendments — from banning assault weapons, creating a registry for guns, allowing local governments to pass stronger gun laws and requiring background checks for gun purchases outside of the state, to prohibiting the sale and transfer of large-capacity magazines.
Another amendment, to remove the proposal to allow school districts to train and arm teachers, failed on a 20-18 vote, with Republican Tom Lee of Thonotosassa joining Garcia, Flores and the Democrats.
The so-called “school marshal program” would allow school districts to work with county law enforcement to deputize trained school personnel to carry concealed weapons during school hours. Gov. Rick Scott has said he opposes arming school teachers, and the program is opposed by most of the members of the 28-member Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, who fear that black students could become disproportionately discriminated against by school officials carrying firearms.
Parkland parents and students who have appeared before legislative committees were overwhelmingly opposed to arming school teachers, as is the governor. A statewide Quinnipiac University poll conducted last week said 56 percent of voters oppose the idea and 40 percent support the giving teachers firearms.
In response to that concern, the Republican majority agreed to accept an amendment by Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, to require school officials who are trained to carry weapons to also undergo 12 hours of diversity training, on top of the 132 hours of firearms training they must receive to be certified to carry a weapon in school.
It will be known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
I think it’s a step in the right direction, but certainly not the end of the discussion or the end of the problem. Florida has much work to be done yet to continue to improve schools and provide safety for our children. To ban guns is not constitutional under the privacy and right to bear arms provisions of Florida’s Constitution.
Resources: Daily Mail, Tampa Bay Times