Florida Gun Rights Outlook: Democrats Attack, (Some) Republicans Defend

The Capitol Building In Downtown Tallahassee Florida Undergoes A


As an old saying warns, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” With Florida’s 60-day legislative session getting under way January 14, Sunshine State gun owners are wondering about the mood in the capitol regarding their Second Amendment rights.

To no one’s surprise, Democrats are pushing for and filing anti-gun bills such as magazine capacity limits, assault weapon bans, the end of the state preemption law, repealing of self defense (stand your ground) laws, etc.

But the real question ism with their control of both the House and Senate, what will Florida’s Republicans propose and support? So far, the answer seems to be: nothing.

While Rep. Anthony Sabatini has introduced open carry and campus carry bills, there is little support for them outside the House. Why? Because Senate President Bill Galvano is still pushing for universal background checks.

Bill Galvano

Florida Senate president Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

From WJCT:

“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.

Galvano’s preoccupation with supposed loopholes isn’t anything new. Back in September, Galvano tasked Sen. Tom Lee, chairperman of the Senate’s Infrastructure and Security Committee to look into “investigating the causes of mass shootings and ways to avert future attacks.” What came out of that was Sen. Lee saying he could support more background checks.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“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.”

Translation: it polled well and would allow Republicans to say they’ve done something about “gun violence.”

Galvano also is also 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 alleged to be a threat. That would bypass the current requirement that the confiscation petitions be filed by law enforcement.

This of course would lower the burden of proof since no actual (even) cursory investigation would take place before petitioning the court.

Fortunately, it appears that the House might hold the line and prevent Galvano’s red flag law expansion.

From WJCT News:

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.”

More good news: 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. They need a statewide total of 766,200 signed and verified petitions by February 1.

BAWN has spent tens of thousands of dollars on printing petitions that come pre-filled with a voter’s name, address and voter registration number. They can be signed and sent back to them via prepaid postage. But even that hasn’t gotten the near the total of signatures they need.

That doesn’t mean the fight is over, though.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

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.

Additionally, a number of Florida’s cities have filed a lawsuit against the state’s preemption law. They claim that the personal fiscal penalty levied against city and county officials who violate the law by enacting local gun control ordinances is unconstitutional.

From The Capitolist:

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.

Currently, the Governor and Attorney General are fighting that ruling, having appealed it to the District Court of Appeals. Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried is backing the lawsuit.


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.”

So it appears that the status quo in terms of gun laws will be maintained on the legislative side. And I don’t see the preemption law being repealed via the lawsuit.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

If the District Court of Appeals sides with the County Court’s ruling, the case will then go before the State Supreme Court. Currently, Gov. DeSantis has two open seats that he will be making appointments to and that should tip the court favorably in his direction.



  1. avatar Dave Huff says:

    Leftists are scum…..

  2. avatar Nanashi says:

    Reminder that the NRA’s exalted Hammer is responsible for so much of our misery. No effort was ever made to remove Galvano despite over a decade of evidence he did not support the Constitution.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      And it was the NRA who pushed for NICS background checks in lieu of the waiting period.
      So now we have both of these infringements and nice run up to a ban on private transactions. I mean, it just makes sense, if you need BC when you buy from a licensed dealer, why not when you buy from your neighbor, right? Don’t pay any attention to the gun registration behind the curtain!

  3. avatar Stateisevil says:

    FL is always a battle ground but with the in flux
    of foreigners and urbanization its days are numbered. Sad, been here for 32 years but will have to leave eventually. The FL GOP is about as “conservative” as the Long Island GOP

  4. avatar Steve T Lynch says:

    People get out and both these SOB’s out of office , it’s the only way to solve any problems

  5. avatar Dennis says:

    Yur headin down the same road we in Vermont and the poor barstards in Virginia are on. Open that door a crack, and your 2nd ammendment is a footnote in history.

  6. avatar Unlicensed Bozo says:

    Wait… This guy is a republican? Someone needs to run against him.

  7. Nothing says kill my Liberties and Freedoms…Than “M assachusetts” up your local/city/state government!

  8. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

    I actually know this guy. He was a customer of a business I worked at. He was fast tracked into politics after law school by signing up with the most prominent law firm in Bradenton. He doesn’t seem to actually be a republican and I wonder how many of his stupid ideas come from his oh so pretty wife.

  9. avatar Steven says:

    If you think about it there have been more 2nd Amendment laws infringed with a republican in office then a Democrat, except Clinton and his magazine ban and then he had a couple of things on the AR15 that he changed but that went away after 10 or 15 years, I can’t remember, but we sit back and relax and think, well there’s a republican in office so we’re okay, when that’s when we’re the most vulnerable

    1. avatar Renault says:

      That’s not true when you look at the states as an example, as intended. The democrat dominated states all enact total draconian gun laws while republican states all generally favor the second amendment. This theme online that gun rights are safer under democrats is revisionist history. One should look to the states as an example of what kind of government you want.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        Gov. Reagan instituted California’s Waiting Period and Ban on Loaded Open Carry.
        Gov. Deukmejian instituted California’s First Assault Weapons Ban.
        Gov. Pataki instituted New York’s Assault Weapons Ban.
        Gov. Romney instituted Massachusetts’s Assault Weapons Ban.
        Gov. Schwarzenegger instituted California’s Ban on .50 Cal Ownership.
        Gov. Scott instituted Florida’s Red Flag Law, Ban on Bump Stocks, and Under 21 Purchase Ban.
        Gov. Hogan instituted Maryland’s Ban on Bump Stocks and signed the Red Flag Bill into Law.
        Gov. Scott instituted Vermont’s Ban on magazines over 10rds.
        Gov. DeWine of Ohio is currently promoting Red Flag Laws and Universal Background Checks.
        Gov. Christie of New Jersey backed the State’s Assault Weapons Ban when running for office and signed their Bump Stock Ban into law.
        Gov. Baker instituted Massachusetts’s Red Flag Law.

        What do they all have in common? They’re Republicans.

        1. avatar Renault says:

          What do they also have in common? They’re all far left states, democrat strongholds, with the exception of Florida.

        2. avatar gene says:


          Back then, CA was conservative. In fact, the majority of the state still is, it’s just the big cities that push it to statism, much like other places.

  10. avatar Dave says:

    How do we create some wobble on the left’s anti-2A drive? All the caving-in has been done by our side over time.

    1. avatar Erik in AZ says:

      How do we do it?

      1) rename your AR15 an MS13. Democrats will welcome you, shower you with taxpayer-funded benefits, and treat you better than a citizen!
      2) explain your weapon self-identifies as a non-binary high-speed wireless technology defense device. They’d be bigots and anti-science to discriminate against it.

  11. avatar Salty Bear says:

    VoTe RePuBlIcAn! ThEy CaRe AbOuT oUr RiGhTs!

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Some Republicans and all Democrats want to take away our rights. It’s up to us to keep them away from power.

    2. avatar Renault says:

      So you’re saying the democrat run states like New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois all have better gun laws then republican states like Texas, Georgia, Kansas, Alaska, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Wyoming ect…??? Are you really that stupid?

      1. avatar Biatec says:

        No one is saying democrats are better. No one ever said that. It’s complete bull though to say Republicans want to protect your rights. Most do not support the 2nd amendment or else we would have stuff abolishing the nfa and background checks in these states.

        1. avatar Renault says:

          Then why are the republican states superb to the democrat states for gun rights? All the democrat states are very anti gun, and there are no Republican states that are truly anti gun. Nearly all democrat states have draconian assault weapons bans, heavily restricted CC laws, no open carry, harsh hunting laws, and red flag laws. All solid Republican states have none of those things.

  12. avatar JOHN THAYER says:

    Why is there no:
    We have a much larger population than Virginia.

    1. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      Well, I say it is time we do something about that. I’m willing to be member #2.

    2. avatar Renault says:

      There is Florida Carry which is a pretty organization.

      1. avatar JOHN B THAYER says:

        Yeah, I am a member and went to one of their “open carry” while “fishing” events. They do not seem to be getting much done. Meanwhile, Marion Hammer gets ~$1/2 for WHAT?

        1. avatar JOHN B THAYER says:

          Meant ~$1/2 million

        2. avatar Renault says:

          Is Marion hammer in Florida carry? I thought she was NRA?

  13. avatar Eric O says:

    No way. You mean to tell me that Republicans, after abandoning their principles in small government, the limits of federal power, less taxes, and military adventurism (remember the 60’s?) are now beginning to abandon their principles regarding gun rights??

    Republicans and their supporters deserve what they get. The rest of us, however, do not. Keep on playing the lesser of two evils game and see where that gets our country.


    1. avatar Eric O says:

      It truly is amazing the selective capability of some folks to quote the Founding Fathers on some issues, and completely ignore them on every other issue.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      The Libertarian party isn’t immune to abandoning principles or making bad decisions.

      Gary Johnson and Massachusetts Democrat Bill Weld as presidential candidates? That tells me all I need to know. If the LP ever did get someone elected to a position that really matters, we’d quickly wish it hadn’t.

      The Republican party sucks, cucks, and can’t be trusted — but as much as I’d like to vote for a third party, I have to acknowledge that the two-party system is a reality that isn’t going anywhere.

    3. avatar Renault says:

      You seem quite ignorant on all things you speak of.

  14. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Folks, let’s remember, if some dumbass sends you this kind of crap (anti-gun petitions) with return postage, you put all the crap in the envelope that will fit, make it as heavy as possible, and send it back. If you don’t mail it, they don’t pay the postage. If they have mailed millions of these things, let’s make sure it costs them a lot of money!

    1. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      Don’t mail that shit back. They’ll just forge your signature and use the cancelled postage as proof it was you. I just run those mailings through the shredder along with unsolicited credit card applications (got burned once when I just threw it in the garbage).

      1. avatar Erik in AZ says:

        He isn’t saying to mail the form back, just the envelope filled with junk, papers, or lead for that matter, to make it heavy and cost them money. The envelope has no identifying info or your address, just their address and the prepaid meter postage.

        The idea is to waste their money. Just like you can click on ads for left-wing politicians or anti-gun ads, and it costs them money without getting them donors or supporters.

  15. avatar RayS says:

    One problem is that some super blue states are losing people, due to all the lib policies. Problem is the move to red areas then bring that same mentality pf the place they left. Texas dealing with influx of californians who are used to things like extreme gun control. The cancer just spreads.

    1. avatar Erik in AZ says:

      I will never understand why those idiots vote for the same insane high tax high crime policies that they just fled. They move to a red state for low taxes, limited regulations, low crime, low cost of living, and vote to destroy it as soon as they get here!

  16. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    We (firearm owners) need to implement a new strategy.

    First and foremost, we need to start passionately and constructively, screaming and yelling (yes, I am serious) that pistol-grip bans, magazine capacity bans, semi-auto bans, caliber bans, rate-of-fire bans, threaded barrel bans, flash hider bans, adjustable stock bans, suppressor (a.k.a. “silencer”) bans, etc. etc. etc. are significant violations of our inalienable right to effective self-defense as well as our inalienable right to property and the pursuit of happiness.

    If we don’t employ passionate and constructive screaming and yelling, no one will view these violations of our inalienable rights as, well, violations of our rights. Calm and collective statements of facts and data will not move the masses to support us. Only when the masses see our visible pain and righteous anger will they begin to feel moved to consider our plight and support us.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      In case anyone has any doubts, I am absolutely serious about my above comment.

      What we are enduring is akin to some government supporting most/all sexual abuse behaviors short of violent forced inter course. If government supported scumbags who go out groping women, fondling women, tearing their clothes to expose them, looking up their skirts, rubbing their male body parts on women — in other words pretty much everything short of forced inter course as I stated above — and all women did was present calm and cool facts and data about those violations, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WOULD CHANGE. What would motivate government to stop supporting such obscene behavior? Women passionately and constructively screaming and yelling about it, communicating their pain and anger.

      1. avatar Erik in AZ says:

        I think you’ll get more traction comparing it to free speech. You want to license me to purchase a gun? I want to license you to post on twitter or facebook. You want one gun a month? You can only tweet or post once a day. You want universal checks? You need a background check to blog, post, tweet or comment on a story, with your real name and address listed for the world to see. You want red flags on gun owners? We need red flags on political activists ranting about government. You want to ban AR’s? We need to ban an entire class of speech…

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Erik in AZ,

          The problem with that approach is that it does not resonate with the masses. Gun-grabbers will easily dismiss those arguments saying to themselves, “I don’t care if responsible firearm ownership inconveniences you.”

          What they cannot dismiss, however, is an actual victim who is inconsolably crying about the horror of her rape … and how incredibly angry she is that people are condemning her to another rape through their support of keeping her disarmed and defenseless.

          That approach WILL gain traction with many who would not otherwise support us.

    2. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      As they inflict a death by a thousand cuts we need to and scream and yell as they inflict every painful slash. The time to be stoic is over. The squeaky wheel gets oiled as our Senate President just demonstrated by blindly following the polls. After all polls are just statistics and everyone know there are only three types of lies (in order of severity): lies, damn lies and statistics.

    3. avatar strych9 says:

      “Only when the masses see our visible pain and righteous anger will they begin to feel moved to consider our plight and support us.”

      I rather doubt this. We’re too far behind on the messaging war for that to work IMHO. The antis will write that off as “adult children screaming about losing their dangerous toys” and they’ll probably get away with it. They already use this type of counter-attack and it’s works for them. There’s no reason to assume the utility of their factitious argument would diminish if we simply yelled louder.

      You need a heart-strings/ethical/moral attack with near-universal appeal where almost everyone looks at the situation and says “Well, that’s just plain wrong”.

      The two obvious ways to do that are 1) “wave the bloody shirt” on ERPOs where an otherwise law-abiding citizen who was wrongly targeted is harmed or killed, or

      2) point to the people like Aaron Feis who’ve died doing the right thing and turn the whole thing around by asking “Why was Mr. Feis legally denied the best tools for the job that he was so committed to that he gave his life doing it?”.

      1. avatar Erik in AZ says:

        But the Left doesn’t even get that. Biden said it denied common sense to have armed folks in church… he would rather the entire congregation died than have people able to defend themselves.

        Likewise, Dems don’t care how many rapes are stopped by armed college women, or that guns are the great equalizer for women, or that guns defend Minorities against racists. Hell, Democrats were the ones that passed Jim Crow laws to disarm blacks!

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:


        Notice that I qualified our yelling and screaming with the words, “passionately and constructively,” with heavy emphasis on constructively.

        Constructively requires us to focus strictly on self-defense and our right to life. We need rape victims (especially victims where law enforcement actually captured and prosecuted the offender) to scream and cry out about the vulgarity and horror of their rape as well as the vulgarity and horror of government telling them they cannot have an effective means to stop that rape — nor additional rapes in the future.

        And we need the same for violent assault and battery victims (like the mom in New Jersey where the home invader punched and kicked her repeatedly in front of her toddler and ultimately threw the mom down the basement steps).

        Of course we also need the same for survivors of murder victims.

        Such victims are CONCRETE PROOF that disarmament laws are obscene and immoral. We need those victims to make the case with overwhelming and undeniable emotion.

  17. avatar Jaque says:

    South Florida, where I live is a Communist stronghold. I live behind enemy lines, where Communists make up most all local governments, including city managers, police chiefs and Sheriffs. Most all cities would enact Virginia style law as quickly as they can when preemption laws be repealed. I say when.

    The State is rapidly turning Communist Red. There are few Florida crackers left, I being in that club as a second generation Floridan. The influx of Communists from the northeastern gun grabbing states and growing population of South Americans and illegals will insure Florida Gun owners are one election away from Communist rule. The last election was close. Too close. And that election put a communist in charge of the states conceal carry licensing.

    In South Florida there is a healthy population of active gun owners, enough to support two public ranges and dozens of for profit indoor ranges, and some clubs with outdoor ranges. Its most certain a large resistance movement would coalesce should we face Virginia type tyranny. But don’t count on sanctuary cities or counties as the law enforcement officials are gun grabbers. The rank and file officers I know are strong Second Amendment types. But who knows what they will do if ordered to execute door to door confiscations. Im not aware of any organized and active militias, but thats not all bad if there are none, because they would be infiltrated by undercover agents.

    Moving is not an easy option for me. Neither is surrendering a collection that took many years and dollars to build. I don’t know much about the politics of North Florida, as its been 30 years since Ive been in them there woods. So we watch and wait, and support the forces against tyranny.

    1. avatar Renault says:

      North Florida is still as red and southern as Alabama and Georgia. In fact, there is a second amendment sanctuary movement in Florida already, started in North Florida. Last I checked several counties up here have joined. If this state goes full communist the northern half of Florida will not go quietly, I assure you. Like in VA, the SASM has broad support from law enforcement up here as well. I know many people in LE and national guard here who openly talk of civil war daily.

  18. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Florida has become a wishy-washy gun state. One has no clue who stands for what.
    What we all do know is that Galvano is an asshole. He can be depended on to do the wrong thing.
    That’s the only sure bet in this state.

  19. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    If the right chose and picked the parts of the Constitution it wanted to honor the Dems would go NUTZ! Being anti-Second means NONE of them are adhering to their oath of office. Whether or not you know this the CONSTITUTION in Article 6, clause 3 dictates the oath of office EVERY official in the country must answer or affirm to. The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be BOUND by the oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

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