Florida Again Offers ‘Legislative Laboratory’ for Gun-Friendly Bills

Florida became the first state to require concealed-weapon permits be issued unless there is a compelling reason not to do … Continued

Florida became the first state to require concealed-weapon permits be issued unless there is a compelling reason not to do so in 1987 when the State Legislature adopted the law reversing the “may issue” standard that still stands in nine states.

In 2005, the state enacted the nation’s first “Stand Your Ground” law. In 2008, the Florida State Legislature passed a law over employers’ objections to let workers store guns in their parked cars at work and, in 2011, it passed a law known as “Docs vs. Glocks” prohibiting physicians from asking patients if they own firearms.

Florida, where former NRA national president Marion Hammer is among the state’s most influential lobbyists, has served as the introductory platform for innovative advances in gun-friendly legislation for decades, leaving gun control advocates in the dust.

“It seems like throughout the years (gun-owners’ rights groups have) been using Florida as the legislative laboratory for what we would call the ‘guns anytime, anywhere, anyplace’ mantra,” the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Senior National Policy Director Brian Malte complained to the Associated Press on March 3.

This year is no different with Florida legislators again serving up a “legislative laboratory” of gun-related proposed bills, including an NRA-backed bill that would let people fire warning shots when attacked, a bill making it easier to sue insurance companies that try to raise homeowners’ rates because of gun ownership, a proposal to allow tax collectors’ offices process concealed-weapon permits and the “Pop-Tart bill,” which would prohibit school administrators from disciplining children for simulating guns while playing or wearing clothes that depict firearms.

A breakdown:
— The so-called “Warning Shot” bill (SB 448, HB 89) was actually introduced last year but never made it to the floor. The bill would grant immunity to people who display guns or fire warning shots in self-defense. Both versions appear cleared for passage in the House and Senate.

The genesis of the bill comes from the case of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun into a wall during a dispute with her estranged husband. An appeal court overturned the conviction. She faces a new trial.

“We’re trying to get some protection for the people who find themselves in a bad spot and don’t want to shoot somebody. Whatever we do here won’t change the circumstances of any case,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Neil Combee. “As it stands right now in ‘stand your ground,’ you have to shoot somebody.”

The change would broaden the “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows anyone in fear of death or serious injury to use deadly force against a suspected attacker. Otherwise, no changes are proposed for the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law because its primary opponents, Democrats, don’t want to address it in an election year.

— The “Discriminatory Insurance Practices against Gun Owners” bill, SB 424 and HB 255, would prevent insurers from charging gun owners higher rates, refusing to issue or canceling auto or homeowner policies because of gun ownership.

Florida law already prohibits insurers from charging more or canceling policies, but the proposal would allow policyholders to sue insurers that take such action.

— The “Pop Tart” bill, (HB 7029 and SB 1060), would bar schools from punishing kids who pretend they’re playing with guns. The measure got its name from reports of a Maryland 7-year-old who was suspended from school last year for chewing his toaster treat into the shape of a gun.

Under the proposal, “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or weapon,” “using a finger or hand to simulate a firearm or weapon” and “vocalizing a firearm or weapon,” as well as possessing a toy made of “snap-together blocks” like Legos, are not grounds for disciplinary action unless it “substantially disrupts student learning” or “causes bodily harm” or “places another person in fear of bodily harm.”

Supporters say the measure would instill a much-needed measure of common sense into school zero-tolerance policies and keep children in school rather than having them suspended.

For more, go to:
Gun laws back in the forefront for Florida legislative session
Proposed Florida Law Would Allow Warning Shots
FLORIDA’S NUTTY NEW GUN LAW
Gun bills take the stage in Florida Legislature
More gun freedom likely in Florida
Guns are hot topic again in Florida legislature
Florida Lawmakers Look To Pass Far-Flung Gun Bills