|DATE:||February 23, 2016|
|TO:||USF & NRA Members and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|NRA Past President|
In an article linked below from "The Trace", an anti-Second Amendment propaganda site created by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla brazenly brags about killing pro-Second Amendment legislation in the committee he chairs.
In response to Senator Diaz de la Portilla's actions, Florida Senator Don Gaetz called him out in the following statement:
Statement of Senator Don Gaetz
Re: Decision of Judiciary Chair to Kill SB-300, Open Carry
February 18, 2016
“Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla has exercised his authority as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to kill SB 300, which would have allowed Florida citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights to openly keep and bear arms.
SB 300 would have allowed only those persons lawfully able to carry hand guns to do so without concealment, without brandishing them, without violating private property rights and without allowing weapons in any place where they are now prohibited.
According to the US Department of Justice, open carry states have less violent crime and less gun-related crime than states which require concealed carry.
“The Senator killed the bill by not allowing it to be presented and debated in his committee. I’m deeply disappointed. It is perfectly proper to vote against a bill. It reflects poorly on any chairman to fear the debate.
“To be clear, Senator Diaz de la Portilla is technically within his rights as Chairman to not hear the bill. Every chairman of every committee has the responsibility and authority to set his or her agenda. What is unfortunate in this case is that this bill was passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives and, in my view, would have passed the full Senate with the constructive amendments recommended by The Florida Police Chiefs Association, who now support the bill. Florida was poised to join 44 other states in enacting rational, constitutionally-faithful open carry legislation.
“Put simply, Senator Diaz de la Portilla used his power as a committee chairman to deny senators and the public the opportunity even to discuss the issue of open carry and vote for or against the bill.
“As a committee chairman, myself, and as a former presiding officer of the Senate, I have faced the same question as Senator Diaz de la Portilla: should I kill a bill that a majority of legislators want to debate and perhaps pass just because of my own personal preferences? In fact, I have faced that question on matters important to Senator Diaz de la Portilla and his constituents. The difference is I did not stretch my authority to stifle the will of the Senate to cast an up or down vote.
“I realize that people of good will can honestly disagree on an issue. However, the Judiciary Committee Chairman promised and then reneged on a commitment to meet with me and other pro-Second Amendment legislators to try to negotiate differences in good faith.
“One thing is sure: those of us who support and defend the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms will be back, always ready to make our case and earn our votes. We will never fear the debate.”