Marion Hammer is a force to be reckoned with. She was the first female President of the National Rifle Association (from 1995 to 1998). As an NRA lobbyist in The Sunshine State, Ms. Hammer led the campaign to reform Florida’s concealed carry laws — a gun rights restoration that spread across the United States. Not to mention her contribution to Florida’s equally significant adoption of a so-called “stand your ground” law. All that said . . .
Ms. Hammer has taken it on the chin over the last few years, as Florida politicians have somehow managed to thwart open carry, campus carry and Constitutional carry pushes — despite their success elsewhere in the country. Ms. Hammer is nothing if not combative. So when open carry died in the Florida legislature — again — Ms. Hammer reckoned it was hammer time.
Here’s her salvo against Florida Open Carry, via ammoland.com. [Note: we will be publishing Florida Carry’s response later today.}
Once again Florida Carry, Inc. has demonstrated a lack of concern for Concealed Weapons and Firearms License holders. License holders continue to be abused by law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts. When firearms, that are being lawfully carried concealed, accidentally become exposed to the sight of another person, license holders are being arrested for violating the open carry ban.
In Florida, there are 1.8 million law-abiding license holders. Every time they leave their homes, carrying a firearm, they run the risk of that firearm becoming exposed to the sight of another person and then being thrown face down on the street, arrested at gun point and treated like a criminal – because the wind blew open a jacket or they reached for something on a top shelf or a shirt got snagged and uncovered their firearm.
SB-148 would have helped stop some of the abuse but Florida Carry, Inc. opposed it.
You would think, particularly in view of Florida Carry’s recent loss in the Norman case before the Florida Supreme Court, that Florida Carry would be eager to pass legislation to protect license holders. Their lawyer defended a license holder, Mr. Dale Norman. Mr. Norman didn’t do anything wrong but because his firearm was accidentally exposed to the sight of another person, he was put face down on the ground, arrested at gun point, hauled off in a police car and prosecuted for violating the open carry law. The case went all the way to the Florida Supreme Court where they ruled against Mr. Norman.
But in Committee on Tuesday, 12/5/17, Florida Carry’s pursuit of perfection, became the enemy of the good. They testified in opposition to Sen. Steube’s SB-148 – Protection from Open Carry Abuse.
Was the bill perfect? No, it wasn’t. Was it better than existing law? Yes, it absolutely was better. Could it have been made better in other committees before final passage? Of, course. That’s the process. And this was only the first committee of three before it could go to the floor in the Senate.
But Florida Carry OPPOSED that bill.
Fortunately the Second Amendment supporters on the committee didn’t pay any attention to Florida Carry (they still voted for improvement) and the antigun Democrats were happy because they can use Florida Carry for cover.
But here’s what Florida Carry DIDN’T DO: They didn’t try to fix any of the bills or amendments to make them better. They didn’t do anything but show up in committee and testify against the bills.
They’re fond of talking about what happened in 1987 like they were there and but they weren’t.
NRA passed right to carry in 1987 and it wasn’t perfect but it was better that nothing and it was a start. Year after year we have worked to improve it and make it better. Today, 1.8 million gun owners have licenses to carry concealed because we know the value of working one step at a time and making things better while pursuing perfection.
That worked well for concealed carry license holders until 2011. That’s when Florida Carry arrived on the legislative scene and effectively killed open carry for CW License holders.
Florida Carry’s folks, using Florida Carry’s name, made a barrage of threatening and bullying phone calls to Senators. They screamed profanities and threats at Senators demanding full open carry for everyone, not concealed carry license holders.
A bill that we could have passed in 2011 to allow CW License holders carry openly or concealed and prevent abuse of license holders, died because of Florida Carry. If it had passed then, we might well have full open carry today but we’ll never know.
So here we are today, still fighting to do something to stop the abuse of license holders. We’re no better off than we were in 2011 and Florida Carry is still working to kill bills that aren’t perfect. Eating an elephant one bite at a time means nothing to them. If they can’t swallow the whole elephant in one bite they’d rather starve – actually they’d rather make YOU starve. They’d rather have nothing upon which to improve. They want it all — right now — or nothing.
However, Florida Carry didn’t kill those bills in committee on 12/5/17 but they made it easier for the antigun Republicans to kill them. Florida Carry’s open opposition to the bill made it easier for them to justify knifing gun owners in the back.
THAT’S NOT ALL. Florida Carry did in this committee hearing… but it’s just more of the same foot stomping for perfection at the expense of the good on Sen. Steube’s SB-134 Courthouse Carry. Their explanations of why they did what they did are pure pap. The only thing their self-righteous behavior does in the legislative arena is benefit the antigun organizations. Legislators will remember that – we will remember that.
Moms Demand Action should put Florida Carry’s representatives in red t-shirts and give them an award, because in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 12/5/2017 Florida Carry sided with Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action – NOT Florida gun owners.