OK, I was wrong. The Florida Legislature did something meaningful. (1)(2) They raised the age at which one may purchase a weapon of war from 18 to 21. I concede this is, in a small way, meaningful.
Then they added a three day minimum waiting period to the purchase of firearms. That, too is, in a small way, meaningful. One will now have to wait a few days unless the they are in one of the bill’s exempted classes. If someone somewhere does his or her job within that waiting period, a gun sale to a known potential mass murderer might be stopped.
Bump stocks for semi-automatic weapons are banned. That’s meaningful, but the ban blows by the real question about the guns themselves. Let’s get rid of automatic and semi-automatic guns, all of them. No one needs them. None of them. They are not Constitutionally protected. If you don’t have one, a bump stock is a door stop. I’m sure this will happen sooner or later, although in today’s political climate exactly when probably depends more upon body counts in our schools than the use of reason. How many dead kids can we tolerate? Where is the line we cannot cross? These are good questions to ask a Florida legislator. What are the answers? Really!
As inadequate as they are, I had not expected even these small steps toward meaningful gun control legislation in Florida. If the bill stopped there, It would have been a start.
But, the Legislature also tossed in arming some school employees. This makes sense only if one has given up on a peaceful society, only if we must expect mass murderers in our schools as a normal state of affairs. For me, this single negative added to the other weak positives yields close to a zero score on the bill overall.
Even close to zero is too much for the NRA, it seems. They have already sued Florida on the new law. (3)
As a reminder to those of us who prefer advancing legislation based upon reason rather than body counts, the gun problem is about guns, nothing else. The NRA passionately wants you to think otherwise, but it’s just about guns. Don’t let their straw men distract you. Keep your focus. It’s about GUNS. You’ll know when we get meaningful legislation because the number of GUNS will go down, not up. It’s really that simple, and the facts are plainly there to convince any rational skeptic, if not an NRA evangelical. (4)
As rational and compassionate human beings determined to fix our GUN problem we can do better than Florida has done so far. Keep it up, Stoneman Douglas kids, kids everywhere. Register and vote. You are our hope and the key.