This evening I sat in on a meeting with Sen. Keith Perry of the Florida Senate. I was invited by Sherrie Bowen and Sherrie McKnight (of Bid Daddy Guns in Gainesville). Thank you for that!
Let me first say to anyone that has been reading my articles, or know me personally know that I am a staunch Constitutional defender. Not just the 2nd Amendment, which is my personal favorite, but all of the Rights we are given by our creator and protected by the Constitution. I teach Constitutional Law to police recruits, and blend my knowledge of that with my knowledge of the State of Florida firearms laws and my years in law enforcement.
So when I was asked if I wanted to have a chance to meet with Sen. Perry and ask him questions I jumped at the chance. The meeting was a very small group, maybe 10 people and Sen. Perry. You can probably guess some of the questions that were asked. Why would you pass a bill you knew was Unconstitutional? Why was the bill rushed through so fast? Why the ban on 18-20-year-olds because of the actions of a few? Why make Felons of thousands of Floridians?
Sen. Perry (Keith) started off by explaining things I already knew about him (we have talked before at legislative meetings at my work and a few other places), he is a Conservative, and a man of faith (he used to attend my church), and other basics. Then he went on to say that when he voted for 7026 he did so not realizing that it may have unconstitutional parts in it. He admits that he now thinks that there may be issues with parts of the Bill he did not consider before and that if he finds that his thoughts change and he thinks the Bill is unconstitutional he would fight to get it struck down or changed. Great! What more can someone ask for right?
Now the questions ranged, comments were made and Keith answered as many of the questions as he could. Understandably many on the group, including myself, felt like the Republican-led Senate and House in Florida let us down. They have the power to shut down any legislation they want by sheer numbers and could have simply said no to all of this craziness. Then when Keith started talking about the alternatives and what could very well happen if the State of Florida switches and is ruled by the Democratic party, it dawned on me, why the Republicans passed this Bill! Although he did not come out and say it in so many words, I realize now why they passed this most terrible, unconstitutional bill.
Imagine for a minute that you have a choice between having the Democrats take control of the House and Senate or passing a Bill that you purposely make so vague in parts, unconstitutional in others that you know those parts will be struck down or rendered unenforceable later. And by passing this Bill you took away the ammunition that the Democrats may have used in the next election? If the Republicans had not passed this or a similar Bill, then the Dems would cry that the Republicans don’t care about our kids (false) that the Republicans do not want to stand up to the NRA (not true and not an issue), the students from Parkland would not have said that they got the Florida Legislators to pass “gun control” legislation. All of those things were taken away when they passed this Bill. They took the ammunition away from the Dems for the next elections and actually turned the tables on them. Now the Republicans can say “We passed the School Safety Act!” and use that against the Dems, who most of them voted against the Bill because they knew that if it passed they lost all of the steam and ammunition they had for the upcoming election. IT WAS ALL POLITICS.
What if the Republicans purposely passed a Bill they knew would be cleaned up later, but at the time of passing gives them the ability to say “we did something” and “we passed school safety legislation” but at the same time would get the parts they really did not want to be struck down by other parts of our Legislative and Judicial branches. I say brilliant! While I wished we had not passed “bad” legislation when looked at in that light, and of the “long-term” consequences, it makes sense. And by the way, it was the term “long-term consequences” that gave away the reason for this bill passing.
So to all of my fellow gun rights supporters and Constitutional supporters, yes this bill stinks, and yes parts are unconstitutional and will fall to the scrutiny that it deserves, and what will be left behind? The school safety part, and the ability of the Republicans to say truthfully they passed legislation in response to the times and emotions of many, yet knowing exactly they did it for the reason of taking the ability of the Democrats to hit them on gun rights and school safety next election away.
While Sen. Perry would not come right out and say that in so many words, I saw it and “read between the lines” and realize now why and that it was a smart political move. While I don’t like the Bill any more than I did before, I now understand the strategy behind it, and realize just how politically it was smart.
So I will not let emotions rule my vote next election. I will not vote out those that voted for the bill, just because of that one bill. I now understand better the game they had to play, and play it well they did. Politics at its finest!