UPDATE: Last night, Florida Carry issued a statement regarding their opposition to SB-148 and the subsequent statement from NRA.
Here’s the gist: “To blame Florida Carry for opposing a bad bill that was not going anywhere to begin with was uncalled for. In truth, the bill that the National Rifle Association is criticizing Florida Carry for opposing, did nothing to get rid of Florida’s current ban on the open carry of Rifles or any other firearm.”
Click here to read the entire statement.
PREVIOUS: I probably need to start by saying I have nothing but the utmost respect for our pro-gun leaders here in Florida.
Marion Hammer is a legend in the gun community — the indefatigable leader of the Gunshine State’s armed intelligentsia. Marion is a former NRA president, a current NRA Board member and executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, the state NRA affiliate.
If you like concealed carry, thank Marion.
If your child is one of the millions made safer by NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program, again, thank Marion. Eddie Eagle was her idea.
Same-Same for the good folks at Florida Carry.
Co-founders and co-executive directors Sean Caranna and Rich Nascak have always been there for gun owners too.
Whenever I’ve identified a problem — the most recent being an out-of-control public housing authority that sought to ban firearms from its property, leaving the most vulnerable members of our society even more vulnerable — the guys have pounced.
Their ability to back up their demands with the threat of a lawsuit has caused more than a few anti-gun bureaucrats to shit their pants. I kinda like that.
Recently, Marion and the Florida Carry guys came to contretemps over SB-148, Sen. Greg Steube’s so called “Protection from Open Carry abuse bill.”
The bill had some flaws — everyone admits that. For me, the biggest flaw was that it wasn’t traditional open carry.
Anyway, Florida Carry opposed the bill.
“That the bill’s progressive penalties are over a lifetime, rather than over a reasonable period of time, forces Florida Carry to oppose the bill as drafted,” the fellas said.
It all became somewhat moot, because SB-148 and all other pro-gun bills never even made it out of Steube’s Senate Judiciary Committee because, once again, gun owners and those in favor of civil rights were betrayed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami.
The duo joined with four Democrats and voted against two of the gun bills, and Flores sided with the Democrats to kill the third.
Marion sent out an email Thursday. The title says all anyone needs to know: “Florida Carry cuts off its nose to spite its face — AGAIN.”
“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,” she wrote.
She points out, correctly, that Florida’s right-to-carry bill that NRA passed in 1987 wasn’t perfect either, but it was a start and better than nothing.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Florida Carry did not respond to the email blast, at least not yet.
I can see both sides in the matter.
The bill was certainly flawed — parts of it horribly so. Was it better than nothing, sure, if it could have gotten out of committee, but when you add Garcia and Flores to the mix the chances of that happening were highly unlikely.
What are we left with? The state’s two most powerful pro-gun groups are at odds with each other.
That, friends, is a situation that cannot stand.
It would constitute a real victory for the antis and the gun banners if it remains the status quo.
During his 1966 campaign for Governor of California, Ronald Reagan uttered his famous Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
I think if we juxtapose “gun group” into President Reagan’s famous epistle it will be to everyone’s benefit.