This past weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida’s four leading Democrat candidates for governor squared off against one another, trying to see which one could out-radical the others for their party’s nomination. Gwen Graham, a one-time member of Congress and the daughter of Florida’s former governor, Bob Graham, stole the show by making a bold proclamation.
If elected, she promised to ban ‘assault weapons’ via executive fiat in her first week in office.
“My commitment to you is action, not words. I have found a public safety statute that allows the Governor, whoever she may be, to sign an executive order for public safety reasons banning the sale of military assault weapons,”
And straight from her campaign website comes this:
“The Legislature has shown they’re not willing to act, and Adam Putnam isn’t even enforcing the weak background check laws we have today. I’m not willing to wait until the next tragedy. In my first week of office, I will issue a pair of executive orders to immediately ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and to implement universal background checks on all gun sales,” Graham said. “I have no doubt the NRA will sue me to stop these commonsense proposals — but, I’ve beat them before, and I’m going to beat them again as governor.”
The public safety statute that Graham is referring to is Florida Statute 14.022, which allows the Governor to take emergency action to quell violence during states of emergency.
14.022 Governor; emergency powers to quell violence.—
(1) The Governor of Florida is hereby authorized and empowered to take such measures and to do all and every act and thing which she or he may deem necessary in order to prevent overt threats of violence or violence, to the person or property of citizens of the state and to maintain peace, tranquillity, and good order in the state, and in any political subdivision thereof, and in any area of the state designated by the Governor.
(2) The Governor when, in her or his opinion, the facts warrant, shall, by proclamation, declare that, because of unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, or otherwise, a danger exists to the person or property of any citizen or citizens of the state and that the peace and tranquillity of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, or any area of the state designated by the Governor, is threatened, and because thereof an emergency, with reference to said threats and danger, exists. In all such cases when the Governor shall issue a proclamation as herein provided she or he shall be and is hereby further authorized and empowered, to cope with said threats and danger, to order and direct any individual person, corporation, association, or group of persons to do any act which would in the Governor’s opinion prevent danger to life, limb, or property, prevent a breach of the peace or the Governor may order such individual person, corporation, association, or group of persons to refrain from doing any act or thing which would, in the Governor’s opinion, endanger life, limb, or property, or cause, or tend to cause, a breach of the peace, or endanger the peace and good order of society, and shall have full power by appropriate means to enforce such order or proclamation.
(3) The Governor, upon the issuance of a proclamation as provided for in subsection (2), is hereby authorized and empowered to take and exercise any, either, or all of the following actions, powers, and prerogatives:
(a) Call out the military forces of the state (state militia) and order and direct said forces to take such action as in the Governor’s judgment may be necessary to avert the threatened danger and to maintain peace and good order in the particular circumstances.
(b) Order any sheriff or sheriffs of this state, pursuant to a proclamation as herein provided, to exercise fully the powers granted them, and each of them, under s. 30.15(1)(f) (suppress tumults, riots, and unlawful assemblies in their counties with force and strong hand when necessary) and to do all things necessary to maintain peace and good order.
(c) Order and direct the State Highway Patrol, and each and every officer thereof, to do and perform such acts and services as the Governor may direct and in the Governor’s judgment are necessary in the circumstances to maintain peace and good order.
(d) Authorize, order or direct any state, county, or city official to enforce the provisions of such proclamation in each and every and all of the courts in the state by injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate legal action.
(4) The Governor is hereby authorized and empowered to intervene in any situation where there exists violence, overt threats of violence to persons or property and take complete control thereof to prevent violence, or to quell violence or any disturbance or disorder which threatens the peace and good order of society.
(5) The powers herein granted are supplemental to and in aid of powers now vested in the Governor under the constitution, statutory laws and police powers of said state.
(6) The provisions of this section shall continue in full force and effect until otherwise amended.
It’s the bolded section above that prospective Maximum Leader Graham believes that she can use to issue an executive order that would ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines.
The only problem is she’s dead wrong. Florida Statute 14.022 doesn’t allow the governor or the state to usurp the peoples’ civil and constitutional rights, especially when there is no direct threat to the people or the state. This statute was created to allow the governor to suppress acts of rebellion, insurrection, rioting, looting, and other dire emergencies.
Here is an actual draft of the executive order Graham promises to issue:
She provides no definition of what would constitute and “assault weapon,” so we can assume just about any semi-automatic firearm would be at risk.
Additionally, Graham also wants to use the same power to institute universal background checks and end private sales of firearms.
The last time I checked, Floridians lawfully owning legal property and exercising their Second Amendment rights doesn’t constitute an emergency, especially the kind Graham would like to invoke using Statue 14.002. By declaring her intent to use tyrannical powers, she’s validating the very reason we have the Second Amendment; to defend ourselves against the evil inclinations of egomaniacal politicians like herself.
The Second Amendment was put into place by the Founders to prevent people like Graham from doing exactly what she’s proposing to do. What else would she deem a threat to the state and ban by diktat? Freedom of speech? Due process? I hope we never find out.