DATE: March 3, 2010
TO: USF & NRA Member and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President
When the Senate came back into session today (Wednesday March 3, 2010 -- the 2nd day of legislative session) SB-1158 by Sen. Charlie Dean (R) was heard on third reading and final passage. After much debate and hypocrisy by several Democrats, the bill PASSED by a vote of 31-9.
It is the Democrats who railed against trust fund raids last year, yet 9 of them refused to support our trust fund protection bill -- such hypocrisy.
SB-1158 is a bill to STOP legislative raids to remove (confiscate) gun owner money from the Division of Licensing Trust Fund -- that holds funding to administer the Concealed Weapons & Firearms Licensing program.
Many thanks are due Senate President Jeff Atwater for making this bill a priority moving it so quickly. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks are due Sen. Charlie Dean for sponsoring and making this bill a top priority. His email address is: email@example.com
VOTING FOR THE BILL:
VOTING AGAINST THE BILL:
Thanks again for all your email to Senators -- it certainly made a difference because 5 Democrats (Aronberg, Gelber, Hill, Justice & Lawson) voted for the bill.
SB-1158 provide protection to the Division of Agriculture's Division of Licensing Trust Fund which handles the fees paid by gun owners to administer the Concealed Weapons and Firearms licensing program
In 1987, passage of the concealed weapons and licensing law had a financial contingency:
1. The legislature insisted that the statewide "Shall Issue" licensing process not require nor be dependent upon General Revenue or any government funding whatever. (Certain members of the legislature were determined that no tax dollars ever be used to fund gun owner programs.)
2. The NRA, Unified Sportsmen of Florida and gun owners, insisted that licensing fees be only the amount necessary to administer the program, no more, no less. Further, we insisted that the fees be held in a trust fund and used solely for the benefit of and administration of the program.
That was the agreement. And language was put in the bill to insure that the terms of the agreement were met. – OR at least it was language everyone THOUGHT would protect the agreement and the money.
We've kept our part of the agreement. In the more than 22 plus years that this program has been in effect, not one single dime has ever come from general revenue or any other government fund.
100% of the program funding has come from gun owners.
The other half of the agreement needs to be kept. Raids cannot be tolerated.
That money is held in "trust" until needed to administer the program, including buy or upgrade computers, buy or upgrade other essential equipment and stay technology in a position to run the program appropriately.
This specific trust fund needs to be protected because these funds facilitate the exercise of a constitutional right.
When government takes citizen money for general use by government, IT'S A TAX.
When government confiscates user fees from trust funds intended to be used to administer specific programs and converts it to government use for other purposes, IT'S A TAX.
When government leaders claim to oppose tax increases and promise not to create new taxes but then raid trust funds, they have deceived you because THEY HAVE CREATED A NEW TAX.
When the Florida Legislature raids the concealed weapons and firearms licensing trust fund they have CREATED A TAX ON THE EXERCISE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT.
Courts have ruled that states may not tax the exercise of a right protected by the federal constitution