NRA’s reach in Florida’s legislature is frightening and alarming
By Roger Caldwell
In Florida, there is an obsession with guns, and there are over one million concealed weapons in the state. The popularity of active concealed weapons permits has surged in Florida in the past 10 years. In 2002, there were only 250,000 gun permits, and in 2012 there were over one million. For the NRA and the Florida Legislature this is an achievement, but for gun control supporters this is insane.
During the 2014 legislature session, the Florida House has approved HB209, which would legalize unlicensed firearm possession during mandatory evacuations during governor-declared states of emergency. This bill makes no sense because it encourages criminal behavior and black market gun transactions. But in a state where an individual can be gunned down and killed for walking to a store, any bill with a gun is possible.
The gun supporters and advocates in the state think this is a great bill, be-cause in an emergency they believe the local and county police are not able to control the criminals. Even though, the Florida’s Sheriff Association has come out against the bill in committee hearings, the pro-gun folks still do not trust them to do their jobs. They would prefer a Wild West scenario, where everyone shoots first, and asks questions later.
The first question that law-abiding citizens should ask is how can a Floridian have an unlicensed firearm? Are the NRA and United Sportsmen of Florida (USF) proposing that Floridians should own licensed and unlicensed firearms? The law is absolutely ridiculous but most gun supporters and owners argue that citizens of the United States have the right to keep and bear arms. The government does not have the right to know what kind and how many guns citizens own.
As gun rights and gun advocates continue to lobby with the NRA, where are the gun control supporters? The NRA is always thrilled when a gun law is passed by the Florida Legislature, because it means more gun sales and profits, and higher donations for the organization.
At this point, the NRA owns the Florida legislature and Florida officials with tens of thousands of dollars. They also have convinced the good-old-boys that President Obama and gun control advocates are trying to take their guns away. Many Floridians have been taught at an early age how to shoot a gun, and they are paranoid to think that someone wants to control their gun ownership.
In Florida, a large majority of the residents do not believe there should be any discussion about gun control, and any gun law for more guns is a good law. When gun control organizations talk about banning assault weapons, gun advocates only hear banning all guns. The two sides are talking a different language, but they must learn how to talk to each other.
HB 209 is a terrible law and gun advocates must tell the truth about the law. It is time for law abiding citizens to mobilize and stop the insanity in Florida. Allowing unlicensed guns on the street during an emergency is a prescription for disaster and death with assault weapons and guns.