Since February 26, 2018; I’ve been on the ground here in Tallahassee fighting the forces of civilian disarmament. It’s been an uphill battle thanks to the Florida Republican Party. On Feb. 21, SB 7026 was introduced to the Florida Senate. It’s a wicked piece of legislation.
It makes anyone that possess a bump stock or similar accessory a felon. It completely violates the due process of gun owners through Gun Violence Protection Acts, it strips the Second Amendment from all Floridians under the age of 21, makes a three-day waiting period mandatory for all gun purchases, and it pushes the false narrative that to fix the failure of government; more government is needed.
It pushes a $400 million boondoggle that puts more school resource officers in schools when we already know that when seconds count, the police are minutes away and furthermore; it goes against the idea of ending gun free zones.
This is what is being pushed by Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran. All of them are Republicans and all of them shot down Senator Baxley’s bill that would make Campus Carry legal for all teachers and staff with a CCW permit and end gun free zones.
Lastly, instead of letting teachers and staff be armed through their CCW permits, it creates a system that requires more firearms training than what Florida Law Enforcement is required to have and it makes it voluntary in that the School Board must allow it; not the teachers themselves. So the School Boards for counties like Miami-Dade, Broward, Leon, and Orange for sure will never allow their teachers and staff be to armed in the first place.
This bill was scheduled to be read and debated by the Rules Committee on the 26th. It was and that is where I come in.
The SB 7026 was scheduled to be debated at 2:30pm, so I contacted Eric Friday of Florida Carry that morning and asked him if he was attending. Of course, he was rushing from Jacksonville, FL to make it on time. Arrive he did as did I and Marion Hammer of the NRA.
The scene itself at the Capitol itself was one of chaos. I parked at the Florida Museum of History by the State Supreme Court and this is what I was greeted with as I walked up the hill to the Capitol.
The entire area was flooded with orange shirted astroturfed gun grabbers. Inside the Capitol and the Knott building was no better.
They were yelling “DOWN WITH THE NRA”, “REPEAL THE SECOND AMENDMENT” and “GUN OWNERS ARE TERRORISTS”. The lobby in front of the committee chambers were jammed packed and the over flow was directed to the Senate building so they can watch on closed circuit television.
Luckily, I made my way to the front of the mob and waited to be admitted. The whole time I was polite and respectful with the Senate Sergeant at Arms and even with the gun grabbers while waiting. They on the other hand were pushing and screaming “LET US IN, THIS IS OUR HOUSE, YOU CAN’T BLOCK US FROM SPEAKING! WE KNOW THE NRA IS PAYING YOU!”
While waiting, I asked the orange shirt mafia who they were. I got numerous answers from them. Some were from small liberal women’s organizations, others were teachers’ unions, and others were from a number of various community organizations. But their signs, shirts, talking points, and buses were all externally funded. Many stated that current Mayor of Miami Beach and Democrat candidate for Governor, Philip Levine was their bank roller.
While I was waiting inside, this was going on outside.
The actions inside the Capitol were tied directly to the events outside. Finally, I was admitted into the committee chambers. It was a circus.
Sen. Benacquisto (R) as committee chair couldn’t keep the gun grabbers under control. They were constantly yelling (you see this repeating, right?) and making demands that the rules be thrown out. It got so hectic that the normal procedure of completing a speaking slip before the committee started was thrown out the window because the gun grabbers were demanding to be heard. And heard they were.
Numerous amendments were submitted by Democrat Senators. They were adding things to the bill like an Assault Weapons Ban, Universal Background Checks, the ending of Private Gun Sales, Mandatory Registration, and the Repeal of State Preemption so cities like Philip Levine’s can pass their own gun bans.
Marion Hammer and Eric Friday both spoke against the numerous amendments and the issues with the main bill itself. Marion Hammer even spoke against the banning of Bump Stocks and that it goes against the 2nd Amendment.
I also spoke against this bill and the travesty that gun control is.
I mentioned how California has had gun control in place since the late 1980s and how it doesn’t prevent or reduce any of their crime. I mentioned how Florida already has a number of laws in place and none of them were followed or prevented anything.
How Broward County amended their waiting period as allowed under the State Constitution to be five days for long guns and hand guns and that it didn’t stop Cruz. Lastly, I mentioned how gun control always leads to oppression. I told the committee members the history of my family and how the Cuban State took their arms away, then their property, and finally their lives.
During that time, the gun grabbers behind me laughed and snickered. After I spoke and returned to my seat. The orange shirt mafia told me “HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL”, “WE’LL FIND YOU CAN KILL YOU”, and “HOPE YOU DIE”. Yet they call us the violent ones.
When the amendment for the AWB was voted down, the crowd shouted “SHAME!”
In the end of that day; the Senate’s Rules Committee was majority Republican and passed SB 7026.
On Feb. 27, The Senate’s Appropriations Committee brought the bill and again, it was the same show. The Democrats tried to load it with Amendments that would give us an Assault Weapons Ban, Mandatory Registration, etc… The Republicans voted against the Amendments and passed the bill in full. Mind you the Bump Stock Ban and the Age Restriction is the core component of this bill. So they are backing gun control. Just on a slower pace than the Democrats.
On March 3, I went back to the Capitol. SB 7026 by this point was now on the Senate floor being debated. The public is not able to comment at this point but can watch from the galleries. So I sat down and watched as my civil rights were possibly being voted away.
A small congentent of Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action were in the galleries too.
During the second reading that afternoon; an Amendment to place a two-year moratorium on the sale of AR-15 pattern rifles was brought up for debate. Senate President Joe Negron (R) called for a voice vote. The Yeas according to him outnumbered the Nays and he considered the amendment passed and part of the bill. Clearly, when as I watched and listened; the yeas in no way out weighed the nays.
At that moment, history rushed back to me and I recalled when in Congress back in 1986 when the Hughes Amendment was passed in a similar method.
Luckily, for a brief minute. Sen. Baxley (R) demanded that a recorded roll call vote be done and thankfully the tally showed that the majority did not approve of the two year moratorium. The danger with that amendment was that after the two years, a permanent ban was to be voted on. It was to be a mini-version of the Clinton AWB.
On March 4; through a true grassroots effort. A rally was held at the Capitol and about two hundred 2nd Amendment supporters from across the state showed up to speak against SB 7026. I of course was there and spoke.
The names of all the victims of mass shootings were read and a moment of silence was given for them. We told the media that we respect and honor the victims and at the same time understand that the restrictions of the Second Amendment is not the correct course of action. That the expansion of gun rights and the ending of gun free zones is the right choice. We did this in the hope that the Florida Senate hears us.
Alas, on March 5 the Florida Senate did not listen and the Republican majority minus a few patriots voted to pass SB 7026 and strip millions of Floridians of their 2nd Amendment Rights and make us felons.
On to the Florida House of Representatives SB 7026 goes. The same song and dance was done was done on March 6. The Democrats submitted amendments that wanted to make Florida a state equal to California in terms of restrictions and the Republicans fought it. On the 2nd reading, the final floor vote happened. A glimmer of hope emerged. 49 yeas against 67 nays!
Today is the 3rd reading. Right now as we speak, the House is debating the bill. And the fear is that the Republican Majority Whip and House Speaker will pressure the Republican majority to vote in favor of the bill and pass it.
If this passes, it will surely go to the Governor’s desk and Rick Scott will sign it into law. I’m asking that you, the readers take action and contact the Governor’s office and inform him and his staff that you in no way will vacation move to, or invest in Florida if he signs SB 7026 into law.
SB 7026 is the bill that is threatening our rights, pushed by the Florida Republican Party.