Representative Gregory,

I am concerned about the rash of gun control legislation introduced this year and working its way through the legislature. Most of these bills are designed to make it harder for the citizens to purchase, own, carry, and use the firearms they have decided best suit their needs. These needs include hunting, recreation, and perhaps the most important of all, protection of themselves and their loved ones. As a member of the judiciary committee, I urge you to help stop these bills.

HB 117 – Mental Health Evaluation to Carry – This creates an undue financial and time burden on those who can least afford it. Moreover, these are the people who are often in most need of licenses to carry concealed.

HB 245 – Child Care Facilities to Become Gun Free Zones – If we have learned anything over the past decade, it’s that gun free zones do not prevent guns from coming in. Only who will be possessing the guns. Expanding what facilities are required to be “gun free” will not expand safety, but only expand the number of people left defenseless.

HB 289 – Background Checks to Buy Ammunition – This also creates an undue burden on those who can least afford it, and those who are often in need of purchasing ammunition. Further, as the experiment in California has shown, it causes undue delay in people being to acquire ammunition. Further, the users have already been through a background check to purchase the firearm.

HB 311 – Threats – This is a poorly drafted bill that will unnecessarily ensnare people who are involved in the most common of defensive gun uses where the defender brandishes, but does not fire the weapon. This would be a potent weapon in the arsenal of unscrupulous prosecutors.

HB 451 – Universal Background Checks – This is a bad bill because it does not define transfer as a sale, but merely possession. Hence, if I were to loan my pistol to a friend during a shooting session, we are both in violation of the law. Further, almost all guns sold in the state of Florida are done through licensed dealers which already require a background check. Finally, the only way this will work would be a state-wide registration of guns to monitor transfers. History has proven over and over again that registration is the first step to confiscation.

HB 627 – Banning all Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines – Simply put, this would ban most of the firearms the citizens of Florida use for their defense. The definitions of Assault Weapons are so broad, that they fit most of the common weapons used for protection. The features the law bans are the same features that make it easier for a person of lesser strength or ability (women and the disabled) to use them for protection.

HB 809 – This increases the costs for renewing concealed carry licenses by reducing the renewal from seven to five years, and requiring a costly eight hour class each time the license is renewed. Again, this is a burden for those who can least afford and often most need these licenses. Further, over thirty years of data on Florida license holders show them to be more law abiding than even the police. Adding to their burdens does not somehow make them more safer.

HB 6009 – Removing State Preemption – This is a needlessly dangerous bill that would make Florida a patchwork of varying gun laws, and would ensnare people in local felonies for the simple act of crossing an invisible line. There are 67 counties in Florida and hundreds of municipalities. It would be impossible for the average citizen to be aware of all of the laws.that would explode if this bill became law.

HB 6049 – Elimination of Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground – This removes a critical protection for those who are defending their lives against a criminal, whether in their home or out in public. This would require them to know, in a life-and-death moment, if there is a safe way to flee. Even in their own homes. Even if they are with loved ones who can’t. This would be another tool for unscrupulous prosecutors to use against people who were simply defending themselves.

I hope this helps you and your staff understand why these bills are of such concern to myself and the thousands of gun owners in your district.

Sincerely,

Derek Ward

Thanks to Miguel for his list of bills, as well as everything else he does.