DATE: May 3, 2014
TO: USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President
Thursday, 5/1/14, the Florida Sheriffs Association killed SB-296/HB-209 -- the bill to allow citizens to carry their firearms with them (rather than leave firearms behind for looters) when they are under a mandatory evacuation during a declared state of emergency. Please read the clipping below:
Latvala, sheriffs help take out Brandes' NRA-backed gun bill | Naked Politics
Be perfectly clear, this was a straight up Second Amendment issue in its purest form. And the Florida Sheriffs Association opposed your fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms at a time when you most need to be able to protect yourself and your family.
And indeed, the US District Court in NC in Baseman vs. Perjure struck down emergency declaration laws like the Florida laws we were trying to fix.
The Court said:
"The problem here is that the emergency declaration statutes, are not narrowly tailored to serve the government's interest in public safety. They do not target dangerous individuals or dangerous conduct. Nor do they seek to impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by, for example, imposing a curfew to allow the exercise of Second Amendment rights during circumscribed times. Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest....Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid…"
Nonetheless, the Florida Sheriffs Association and a handful of Senate Republicans who joined Sen. Jack Latvala in abandoning the Second Amendment for the convenience of law enforcement, blocked restoration of your constitutional right. Knowing that if the bill were amended it would have to go back to House where it would NOT come up again, they voted 23-15 for an amendment they knew would kill the bill.
We believe the intention, all along, of the Florida Sheriffs Association was to kill the bill. They tried to kill HB-89 the so-called "warning shot" bill but failed. They pulled out all the stops on the mandatory evacuation bill.
Make no mistake, the Florida Sheriffs Association has declared war on the Second Amendment. Their actions have made it clear their 2013 Proclamation Supporting the Second Amendment was nothing more than camouflage.
Sheriffs repeatedly made it clear that the only thing they cared about was their convenience. Rhetorical questions like,
"How are we supposed to know who has guns?"
"How are we supposed to know if people are legally in possession of guns?"
"How are we supposed to know they are actually evacuating?"
"How are we supposed to know when we shine flashlights in cars and see guns that they are legal?" -- made it clear it was all about what they wanted and not about the rights and needs of the people they were elected to serve. They also made it clear, they prefer to presume you are a criminal rather than an honest citizen trying to protect your family and your property.
Also, please remember that not all Sheriffs agreed with the position taken by the top brass and lobbyists of the Association. You might ask your sheriffs which side they chose -- yours or the Association's.
Below is the Roll Call vote on the amendment. Passage of that amendment killed the bill, as it was intended to do. Sometimes you need to lose in order to identify the real enemy. This was one of those times.
TRUE Second Amendment Supporters who voted to protect your rights were:
Sen. Thad Altman (R)
Sen. Aaron Bean (R)
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
Sen. Rob Bradley (R)
Sen. Jeff Brandes (R)
Sen. Greg Evers (R)
Sen. Bill Galvano (R)
Sen. Andy Gardiner (R)
Sen. Tom Lee (R)
Sen. Joe Negron (R)
Sen. David Simmons (R)
Sen. Wilton Simpson (R)
Sen. Kelli Stargel (R)
Sen. John Trasher (R)
Sen. President Don Gaetz (R)
Those who voted for the Latvala amendment to kill the bill:
Sen. Charlie Dean
Sen. Nancy Detert
Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Sen. Rene Garcia
Sen. Denise Grimsley
Sen. Alan Hays
Sen. Jack Latvala
Sen. John Legg
Sen. Garrett Richter
Sen. Joe Abruzzo
Sen. Oscar Braynon
Sen. Dwight Bullard
Sen. Jeff Clemens
Sen. Audrey Gibson
Sen. Arthenia Joyner
Sen. Gwen Margolis
Sen. Bill Montford
Sen. Jeremy Ring
Sen. Maria Sachs
Sen. Chris Smith
Sen. Eleanor Sobel
Sen. Darren Soto
Sen. Geraldine Thompson
Below is the link to another clipping on the issue.
Florida: Emergency concealed carry bill killed by last minute amendments
Finally, as always, we never quit. The bill will be filed again next year and as many years as it takes to pass it. Your rights are not just being violated, they are being denied.