The political circus surrounding gun control came to a bizarre apex in Florida this weekend. On Saturday, the state Senate officially voted to ban sales of AR-15 rifles.
The ban lasted for all of 15 minutes before being revoked by the same Senate that had just passed it.
That strange political situation was due in part to the voting procedures at the state capitol. When it came time to decide on the gun-ban amendment, the vote was taken by voice, not the more reliable role call method.
“While the Senate president ruled that the amendment passed, the body reconsidered the amendment 15 minutes later and overturned it by a margin of 21-17 in a roll call vote, with each ‘no’ vote cast by a Republican,” The Hill reported. “Two Republicans backed the moratorium on the rifle.”
It should be noted that in addition to those two Republicans who apparently had no problem with a two-year ban on the most popular sporting rifle in America, the Senate leader who first ruled that the amendment passed was also a Republican.
“The surprise action came on an unrecorded voice vote in which senators shouted yea or nay. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, ruled that the amendment passed. As Senate rules allow, it was reconsidered and overturned by a roll call vote of 21-17 with (Republicans) Flores and Garcia joining Democrats,” The Tampa Bay Times explained.
That’s where we are at this point in 2018: Republicans who pay lip service to the Second Amendment now openly vote to stop law-abiding citizens from purchasing the top-selling rifle in America.
Remember, AR-15s are used in an extremely small number of murders in the United States. Blunt objects, baseball bats and fists kill more people every year — and statistics show that even as AR-15 sales skyrocketed, the murder rate declined dramatically. Facts apparently no longer matter.
As people across the country were stunned to find out, government failed at every level in the Parkland shooting. The FBI had warnings, but did almost nothing. Local law enforcement knew about the shooter and visited him many times. He was never arrested.
Even after the shooting began, deputies under the incompetent Sheriff Scott Israel reportedly stood by and refused to enter the school.
Incredibly, lawmakers in Florida declined to acknowledge that their own government agencies had failed America’s children, but doubled down on more laws as the “solution.” This included Republicans.
“If anything has come out of that tragedy, it is the realization that we have not done enough to this point comprehensively to have mechanisms in place … to prevent this from occurring,” said Sen. Bill Galvano, a Republican from Bradenton, Florida.
That’s the one thing you took away from this tragedy, Senator? Not that the Democrat-connected, grandstanding sheriff in Broward County is borderline criminally inept or that the FBI was caught twiddling its thumbs. No. Your “realization” is that more laws will magically stop the next murder?
The AR-banning amendment may have ultimately failed, but the legislation it was attached to passed. Some of its measures are solid, but others are political filler meant to look good while having a scant impact on crime.
“The Senate is expected to approve the measure Monday and send it to the House, where leaders there hope to approve it in time for it to reach the governor’s desk before the session ends on March 9,” The Tampa Bay Times reported.
“The four-part package focuses on mental health, firearms safety, school safety and communication and (a law change) to raise the age for buying a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21,” the newspaper continued.
A key amendment to create “school marshals,” essentially armed and trained teachers, did not pass, however.
Evil must be confronted, not papered over with endless ineffective laws that violent criminals simply ignore. Confronting evil was exactly where Florida’s own government failed last month — and if bureaucrats want to have an honest conversation about the problem, that might be a good place to start.
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