While we Floridians have enjoyed some advances in firearm ownership and personal protection over the last 30 years, there is now a serious threat to our abilities to exercise our Second Amendment rights. Last year, with a Republican House, Senate and Governor, Florida passed what has become the nation’s model for Extreme Risk Protection Orders. In the first eight months of the law’s passage nearly 1,000 individuals in just Florida had their firearm rights taken away (source: AP News).
Why do we bring this up now? Because they are not done. State legislators have introduced bills to enact Universal Background Checks, Magazine Capacity Limits and complete bans on semi-automatic rifles. Senate Bill 500 is written in such a way to include AR pistols. Florida- what was once called the “Gunshine State”, has become the battleground to be the next New York or New Jersey.
What can we do? There are three main avenues.
Activism– This means taking time to write, call, email and even send physical letters to our elected officials that someone has to read and record. If we believe our sport is important- whether it’s target shooting with a 22LR pistol or busting clays or training in full tactical gear, we make our voices known.
Lobbying– This, sadly is where abdication of responsibilities gets us. Just being a lifetime member of NRA is not enough. There are multiple organizations with different goals- Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Gun Owners of America. At OKSS we’ll not tell you WHICH groups to support. Only that you research, make commitments to those who line up with your values and hold their leadership accountable. They are your voice in the “hallowed halls” of capital buildings.
Litigation– The most costly and least effective. Trying to undo legislative wrongs. This takes years and a good deal of luck. Making our voices heard at the Advocacy level prevents having to fund lawyers. No one likes to fund lawyers.
In the coming weeks we’ll include some additional information about bills being pushed, legislators who are pushing gun control (like Speaker Jose Oliva), and those who have promised to uphold our rights- like Governor DeSantis. But the single most important thing you can do is BE INFORMED and talk to your neighbors. We saw major infringements attempted in 2018 and were left with “only” SB 7026. If we fail to change our lifestyle and make our voices heard, our lifestyle will certainly be changed for us.
Note: The above message of Activism, Lobbying and Litigation adopted with permission from Shawn Herrin, Host of We Like Shooting and president of the Firearms Radio Network.