Writing for the Tampa Bay Times, columnist John Romana claims that a law to protect the Second Amendment diminishes the First Amendment. The statute in question, passed by the Florida legislature in 2011, makes it illegal for local governments to pass regulations and ordinances dealing with guns, gun possession, anything to do with guns.
The Sunshine State’s new gun control preemption law was passed in reaction to politicians in large urban centers persistently ignoring the previous preemption law. Local ordinances and regulations created a patchwork of firearms law that entrapped Floridians exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Mr. Romano highlighted the “plight” of Lisa Wheeler-Bowman. The St. Petersburg Councilwoman wanted to pass a resolution to create a special legislative session to pass a resolution on “gun violence prevention.”
The legislative powers-that-be told Ms. Wheeler-Bowman that such a resolution, because it dealt with guns, might be illegal. It might subject her to fines or a lawsuit. It probably would not, but there was a possibility.
The preemption statute does not interfere with Ms. Wheeler-Bowman’s First Amendment rights. It hindered her power to pass a resolution, to take official action as member of a governmental body.
The First Amendment does not protect governments. It protects people. She can talk about the Second Amendment all she wishes. Governments have powers. People have rights. From tampabay.com:
When City Attorney Jacqueline Kovilaritch alerted Wheeler-Bowman to the potential ramifications of passing even a non-binding resolution related to firearms, she said she decided to pull the discussion from today’s agenda.
This isn’t the first time common sense has been stifled by this NRA-supported law. This was the same law that cops around the state once said left them powerless to shut down backyard gun ranges.
Passing resolutions about guns may or may not be covered under the preemption law. If politicians want to talk about guns, they can talk about guns all they want. Using their governmental power to legislate about guns has been placed out of bounds by the Florida legislature, and for good reason.
Our government is meant to be limited in its power. That is what checks and balances are all about. Local governments are not supposed to infringe on Constitutionally protected rights. It is reasonable and responsible for state governments to protect those rights.
When I tuned into the St. Petersburg City Council, there was a woman reading a statement calling for more restrictions on Second Amendment rights. Her First Amendment rights did not seem impaired at all. “Progressives” deliberately confuse individual rights with government powers. Limiting government power does not limit individual rights.
Governments are frequently attacking the First Amendment rights of Second Amendment supporters.
California forbids gunshops to display a picture of a handgun outside of the shop. In several cities, Second Amendment supporters have had to sue city governments to allow advertising for firearms on city venues. Alan Korwin recently won one of these lawsuits in Phoenix. Local government representative and anti-Second Amendment activists applied political pressure to force an airport to take down an advertisement for guns in Columbia, SC.
In Texas, three anti-Second Amendment professors claimed that exercising Second Amendment rights (even while concealed) inhibited their First Amendment rights.
Limiting government power is designed to protect individual rights. Limiting the power of local governments to infringe on the Second Amendment does not limit the First Amendment right of any individual.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.