So what’s the word? It is quite simple actually. Nothing.
While Rep. Anthony Sabatini has introduced an Open Carry Bill and a College/University Campus Carry Bill. There is little support outside the House for it. Why? Because Senate President Bill Galvano is still pushing for Universal Background Checks.
This isn’t anything new. Back in September 2019, Sen. Galvano tasked Sen. Tom Lee, chairperson of the Senate’s Infrastructure and Security Committee to look into “investigating the causes of mass shootings and ways to avert future attacks”. – Herald Tribune News.“There are myriad things in play, but the background checks are very much being looked at,” Galvano, R-Bradenton, told The News Service of Florida in a recent interview.
Galvano pointed to what is known as the “gun-show loophole,” which allows people who buy firearms to avoid the three-day waiting period and background check required when guns are purchased from federally licensed dealers.
“I think we need to really take a look at that,” he said. – WJCT News
What came out of that committee meeting was Sen. Lee saying he personally could support more background checks.
Sen. Galvano also is in favor of expanding Florida’s Red Flag Law by allowing family members, school administrators or health care professionals to directly petition courts to remove guns from people who are claimed to pose a threat. Thereby skipping reporting the supposed issue to law enforcement. This of course is a threat to the 2nd Amendment because the burden of proof will be lowered since no actual cursory investigation will happen by Law Enforcement. Since currently Police would have to look at the facts before they presented their cases to the courts for a Red Flag Order to be issued.“Of all the things I’ve reviewed, and all the ideas that have come forward, that’s the one that seems to me to make the most common sense, not just to me, but to the average Floridian.” – Tampa Bay Times, September 2019
Luckily, it appears that the House might hold the line and prevent Sen. Galvano’s goals from being achieved.
“They (House members) are very pro-Second Amendment and they’re going to be very hostile towards gun control or gun restrictions because they know that gun control and gun restrictions aren’t the answer,” state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, told the News Service in a telephone interview.
“There’s no rational relationship” between gun violence and gun-control laws, Sabatini said, expressing an opinion shared by many of his House Republican colleagues.
“It’s what I call a red herring,” Sabatini, a lawyer, said.
Additionally, Ban Assault Weapons NOW! And their petition goal of getting an Assault Weapons Ban on the 2020 Ballot is pretty much dead in the water. According to the Florida Division of Elections, BAWN has 130,802 signed petitions and they need a statewide total 766,200 by February 1st.Rep. Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican and attorney who specializes in Second Amendment law, said Florida, like other states, has plenty of statutes governing firearms.
“Most of the time when we pass new gun legislation, because there’s a ton of law already on the books, it ends up infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Byrd told the News Service. “The criminals by definition are going to break the law anyway.”
Byrd, whose clients includes people fighting risk protection orders, said Florida’s red-flag law has “got problems.”
“It needs to be fixed. It does not need to be expanded,” he said. “It’s ruined people’s lives. People have lost jobs. I’m not saying we don’t need a mechanism in place, but the mechanism we have now needs to be improved.
Byrd also said expanding background checks for gun sales -- which he said results in litigation that comprises the bulk of his work -- isn’t the solution, either.
The background checks “are only as good as the data” in the state and national databases used to conduct the screenings, Byrd said.
“There are a lot of people that have to hire an attorney to get mistakes that are in the background system fixed,” he said. “It sounds good, but time after time after time in these shootings these are people that have passed the background check.”
BAWN is burning money like crazy, they’ve spent more than $17,700 on printing petitions that come pre-filled with a voter’s name, address and voter registration number, and can be sent back to them via prepaid postage. But even that is a hard pill to swallow for BAWN. It is January 9th as I write this, they still haven’t mailed out the petitions yet.
To put it bluntly, they only have 17% of the petitions they need signed. So it appears that 2020’s ballot will be gun control free come November. Now, that doesn’t mean the fight is over.
BAWN of course has stated they will keep trying and if they can't make it for the 2020 ballot, they will try for the 2022 ballot.Patti Brigham, president of the Florida League of Women Voters and committee member of Ban Assault Weapons Now, said the mailers are just an example of how important it is to “make the public aware that this initiative is critical to the safety of all Floridians.”
She said while they are trying to remain optimistic, they plan on continuing the campaign into the next election cycle if they don’t make it to the 2020 ballot.
“We’re just doing anything we can to get petitions signed,” she said. – Tampa Bay Times
Additionally, a number of Florida’s Cities have filed a lawsuit against the State’s Preemption Law and claim that the personal fiscal penalty levied against City and County officials is unconstitutional if they violate State Law by passing local laws and ordinances that institute gun control.
Currently, the Governor and Attorney General are fighting the County Court’s ruling and appealing it to the District Court of Appeals.Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with local governments against the gun law in July of 2019. He addressed a concern for protecting governmental officials in their decision-making processes with a “legislative immunity”.
“Because local governments must have what amount to small legislatures, and because courts cannot interfere in legislative processes, neither this court, nor any other court in Florida, can enforce the civil penalty provisions (of the law) against local legislators,” Dodson said. – The Capitolist
So it appears that the Status Quo of gun ownership will be currently preserved in the legislative side of things and I don’t see the State Preemption Law being repealed via the judiciary since if the Direct Court of Appeals sides with the County Court, it will go before the State Supreme Court and currently, Gov. DeSantis has a open seats that he will make appointments to and that will tip the court favorably in his corner.Lawyers for Attorney General Ashley Moody and Gov. Ron DeSantis took the case to the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeals, and in a brief last month, cited a “hierarchical relationship” between state and local governments and pointed out the Florida Constitution “subjugates local governments’ authority to that of the Florida Legislature.”