After watching in frustration as several pro-gun bills were left on the table as Florida’s latest legislative session came to an abrupt close, I guess I started to dream the impossible dream.
I came up with 10 bills — five federal and five state — which I’d like to see introduced.
Some are already in the works, or have become law in other states. A few others have been attempted but have failed to garner enough support. One is an idea long past overdue.
1. National reciprocity for concealed carry licenses — If a law-abiding citizen has passed the requirements in their home state for a concealed carry license, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to carry a concealed firearm in all 50 states. This would end the ever-changing and confusing patchwork of states that recognize the license, and those that don’t, which can lead to criminal sanctions.
2. Remove suppressors from NFA regulation — Suppressors are surging in popularity. They’ve become a must-have accessory for shooters and hunters. There is no legitimate reason why they are still subject to the clunky requirements of the National Firearms Act. I’m sure even the ATF would be glad to see this change, as the majority of the NFA transfers they process involve suppressors.
3. National safe-travel legislation — If a gun owner or concealed-carrier is passing through a state where their firearm is prohibited, they should not be penalized if discovered by local law enforcement. We’ve all seen the legal horrors Philadelphia resident and concealed-carrier Shaneen Allen encountered during what she thought would be a routine traffic stop in New Jersey.
4. National ammunition protection bills — Several states have begun overly regulating traditional lead-based ammunition. California has banned lead ammunition for hunting. While the EPA has so far refused to be a party to a nationwide ban on lead-based ammunition, thanks to the lobbying by NRA and its members, federal legislation preserving traditional ammunition is needed.
5. A bill to allow the purchase of any firearm in non-contiguous states — More than 40 states allow their residents to purchase rifles and shotguns in non-contiguous states. While this number is growing, in this day and age regulations controlling where you can purchase any firearm, including handguns, are outdated and nonsensical.
1. Campus Carry — When I interviewed Rep. Greg Steube
(R-Sarasota) about his Campus Carry legislation, he talked about the young military veterans entering college after having served multiple overseas combat deployments, and how they could have benefited from his bill because they’ve grown accustomed to being armed. During an emergency, the schools could have benefited as well by having armed, well-trained veterans in the classrooms. For me, that scenario still trumps all of the arguments posed by the opposition.
2. K-12 Campus bill — This legislation, another from Rep. Steube, was overshadowed by the campus carry bill. This bill would have allowed designated school district employees to carry a concealed firearm on campus. It allowed the principal to select the staff who they believe were capable of safeguarding their schools.
3. Shall-certify –Tennessee is the most recent state to pass a shall-certify bill, which gives a sheriff of chief of police 15 days to sign an applicant’s ATF Form 4, the document required to transfer a firearm or suppressor subject to NFA regulation. Tennessee’s law also allows an applicant to appeal a denial to state court. Even in Florida, there are many CLEOs who refuse to sign off on a resident’s request to purchase an NFA firearm.
4. Lifetime concealed carry license — Tennessee just passed a law that allows residents to purchase a lifetime concealed carry license for a flat fee of $500. If we are required to purchase licenses in order to carry a concealed firearm, this makes good sense, but I much prefer another option.
5. Constitutional carry — I’ve long believed that a concealed carry license is nothing more than the government taking away my Second Amendment right and then selling it back to me. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming allow qualified residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. As others have said, Constitution Carry is the only real right-to-carry legislation. I can’t wait for a politician to introduce the idea here in Florida.