By LEE WILLIAMS
I’m calling it.
For gun owners, Florida’s next legislative session, which begins in January, is over before it starts.
There will be no campus carry, open carry or anything else this year.
It’s a leadership thing.
On Monday, it was revealed that incoming Senate president Bill Galvano — a Republican from Bradenton, accepted a $200,000 donation from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” group.
On Tuesday, Galvano stood by his decision, telling the Tampa Bay Times through a spokesperson that he would “make no apologies for the responsible steps we took in a bipartisan manner in the wake of the worst school shooting in our state’s history. “I have made it clear that as Senate president I will continue to advocate for increased safety and security in our schools. I am grateful for the support.”
Incoming House speaker Jose Oliva, a Republican from Miami Lakes, is also somewhat suspect when it comes to gun rights.
He voted for SB 7026, the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act,” which created red-flag laws, banned bump stocks and stripped 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds of their Second Amendment rights.
With this type of “leadership,” we’ll be damn lucky just to keep the rights we currently have.
What’s most at risk?
I’d say Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is in jeopardy.
It’s perhaps the most misunderstood law on the books. Its critics say SYG has become a license to kill, which is wrong. All it does is remove the “duty to retreat,” when someone is faced with a threat upon their life.
But in my humble opinion, the most at-risk law is the state’s powerful preemption statute, which specifies that only the legislature can regulate firearms.
Municipalities across the state have already filed suit in opposition to this statute.
For those seeking to strip gun owners of their constitutional rights, killing the preemption statute has long been a stated goal. It would allow any legislative body to create their own local gun prohibitions, no matter how silly or nonsensical.
Losing Stand Your Ground would be traumatic, but if we lose preemption, that’s it folks.
I really, really hope I’m wrong.