By: DJ Parten
It is easy for gun right advocates to see the bad all around us. Politicians of both major parties have betrayed us to look more reasonable to the mainstream media. Heck, even the Washington Post reported that Florida Republicans passed “a bill that brings (the Florida Legislature) more in line with legislatures in California and Illinois.”
But the truth is that things are beginning to look up for citizens who support the right to keep and bear arms in Florida. Don’t get me wrong. There is still A LOT of work to be done to protect our rights. This can be seen by looking at the Florida State Senate. Three prominent Republicans in the Senate are still calling for gun control expansions.
On the other side of the Capitol, however, members of the House of Representatives are largely silent on the issue of gun rights, with the exception of a few members who have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the establishment and fight for our rights.
Here’s a closer look at the gun control threats facing Floridians from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as how the culture in Tallahassee is changing for the better:
Senate President Bill Galvano (Republican) is the most prominent anti-gun politician in the Sunshine State. After championing SB 7026, the 2018 gun control package, Galvano took half-a-million dollars from Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety, which praised him for his efforts to pass those radical infringements.
Unfortunately, Galvano didn’t get his fill in 2018. Now, he is once again pledging to take action for gun control, including in his plans universal background checks (which is just code for universal gun registration), and an expansion of the State’s “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation law.
President Pro Tempore David Simmons (Republican) has also joined the self-righteous crusade to punish gun owners for the actions of criminals. Simmons recently announced his plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit law-abiding adults under the age of 25 from purchasing firearms with a fixed or detachable magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds.
As President Pro Tempore and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Simmons is in a powerful role that gives him broad influence over lawmakers, and he has adopted radical gun control policies as one of his top priorities.
Tom Lee (Republican) is Chairman of the Infrastructure and Security Committee. Galvano instructed Lee to research gun violence and offer a solution. Lee recently told reporters that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to gun control. He also endorsed expanding the background check (gun registration) system while claiming to search for the “sweet spot” with regard to gun control.
Tom Lee voted against gun control SB 7026 in 2018, but is now championing the efforts for gun control for the 2020 legislative session.
Other prominent members of the Florida State Senate who support gun control are Wilton Simpson, who will be the next President of the Senate, Kathleen Passidomo who is the Senate Majority Leader, and Anitere Flores, who is the Deputy Majority Leader. All three of these prominent Senate Republicans voted for SB 7026. Anitere Flores even voted for an amendment that would have implemented a so-called “Assault Weapons” ban.
There is still a lot of work to be done to correct the behavior of elected officials in the State Senate. The most powerful Republicans in the chamber are the most vocal in calling for more restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.
State House of Representatives
Speaker of the House Jose Oliva was the House sponsor of SB 7026, the 2018 gun control bill. If there is one man who can be blamed for this bill’s success in the House, it is this man. Speaker Pro Tempore MaryLynn Magar voted for the bill, as did Majority Leader Dane Eagle.
As in the Senate, the prominent Republican leaders in the State House of Representatives have a proven record of supporting radical gun control legislation. The one difference is that none of these people are openly pushing for gun control anymore.
This is because some members of the House have taken a stand for the right to keep and bear arms. State Representative Anthony Sabatini filed House Bill 273. HB 273 is the first Constitutional Carry bill ever to be introduced in Florida. Then there is State Representative Mike Hill, who introduced a bill to repeal the 2018 gun control -- including the “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation law -- for two years in a row.
The mere introduction of these bills has allowed the grassroots to shift the conversation from gun control to gun rights legislation. The anti-gun leaders of the House of Representatives are silent on gun control because grassroots activists are changing the culture in Tallahassee.
Grassroots pressure is already forcing some politicians to back off their support of gun control. Pretty soon, Florida politicians will be back to championing the Second Amendment. If gun rights supporters continue contacting their elected officials and mobilizing their family and friends to do the same, we will take back our state for the Second Amendment.
If you want to know who voted for gun control in 2018, check out the documents below. SB 7026 included “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation, a ban on 18-21 year old from purchasing long guns, three-day waiting periods for all firearm purchases, and a bump stock ban. Sixty-seven NRA A-rated Republicans joined anti-gun Democrats to pass this gun control.
You can also find out who represents you at this link: https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Southeast Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.