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**UPDATE ON ROUND 3 & 4 ** Gun owners Trust Fund Bills Moving Along

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TO:            USF & NRA Member and Friends
FROM:      Marion P. Hammer
                  USF Executive Director
                  NRA Past President

REPORT ON ROUND 3 --  SB-1158 Trust Fund by Senator Charlie Dean (R)

Senate Bill 1158 by Senator Charlie Dean (R) was heard on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon (Tuesday March 2, 2010 -- opening day of legislative session) for discussion, questions and for the hearing of any potential amendments.

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.

Your emails to Senators were very effective (profuse thanks for your help).  There were no attempts to amend or harm the bill.  Under the rules, the bill will next be heard on third reading and final passage -- hopefully today when the Senate comes back into session.

REPORT ON ROUND 4 -- HB-651 Trust Fund by Representative David Rivera (R)

House Bill 651 by Representative David Rivera (R) was heard in the House Full Appropriations Council on Education & Economic Development  yesterday (Tuesday March 2, 2010 -- opening day of legislative session). 

HB-651 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.

Once again your emails to Committee Members were very effective (many more thanks for your help).  Some committee members commented to us about the outstanding quality and quantity of emails from NRA/USF members and supporters.  There were no attempts to amend or harm the bill and no negative comments.  After testimony and favorable questioning, the committee voted unanimously 16 to 0 to pass the bill out of committee.

The next stop for HB-651 by Representative David Rivera is the House floor.

Thanks again for all your emails to Senators and Representatives.  They listen when you speak.

BACKGROUND

SB-1158 & HB-651 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.

REMEMBER:

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.

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