Joe Henderson: A little gun sanity finally comes to Florida - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: A little gun sanity finally comes to Florida

There are two reasons to feel at least a little bit good about what the Florida Legislature just did in the name of gun sanity.

First, families of the 17 victims in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland supported the compromise bill calling for age and other restrictions on gun sales in Florida.

And second, the National Rifle Association hates the bill. Despite efforts by no less than NRA Grand Dame Marion Hammer to scuttle it, the measure passed.

That’s good enough for me, even though I hate the idea of allowing so-called volunteer armed marshals in schools. But districts can follow the lead of Hillsborough County, eighth-largest in the country, and opt out.

In perhaps the strangest twist of all, Gov. Rick Scott is being coy about whether he will veto the measure because he, too, opposes the marshal plan. I’m thinking his A-plus rating from NRA might be in trouble as we cue music from Hamilton – the world turned upside down.

And to think it only took a high school slaughter on Valentine’s Day to get lawmakers to finally say hey, maybe we ought to do something to pump the brakes on NRA platform that seems to want a Glock in every hand and an AR-15 within easy reach.

ad - gt

By that standard, the House, in passing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act by a 67-50 margin after eight hours of contentious debate, practically threw a pie in the NRA’s face.

No one got everything they sought, which I suppose is the definition of compromise.

Gun opponents didn’t get the outright ban on assault weapon sales that they wanted or reductions in magazine sizes, but there is more money for mental health treatment, beefed up school security and the minimum age to buy such a gun was raised to 21 from its current 18 – assuming Scott signs the bill.

That might have kept the murder weapon out of the hands of confessed Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz, who is 19 and legally bought the gun used in the massacre. But it wouldn’t have stopped Pulse nightclub murderer Omar Mateen, who was 29 when he went on a rampage that left 49 people dead.

Baby steps, I guess.

The sale of bump stocks will be illegal under this bill. The bill also imposes a 3-day waiting period for someone to buy a gun. In an absurd gambit, the NRA called this punishment on “law-abiding citizens for the actions of a mentally deranged criminal.”

Note to NRA: Until he marched into Douglas High School and started shooting his legally purchased weapon, Cruz was a law-abiding citizen .

Like I said, there are some things to like about this bill and more than a little not to like. That’s why some, including the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, are calling on Scott to veto the measure, and then bring lawmakers back in special session and craft something meatier.

There is some merit to that idea and imagine what kind of juice it would give to Scott’s presumed run for the U.S. Senate. Scott could frame himself as willing to stand up to the NRA and besides, what are you gun lovers gonna do? Vote for Bill Nelson?

But I go back to where this column started with the debate on gun sanity.

Families of the Parkland victims support this bill.

The NRA hates it.

To me, that says lawmakers finally did the right thing.

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  1. How is it a compromise for gun owners, gun rights activists, and 2A supporters? They received nothing, only incremental gun control.

  2. Move your happy ass to Russia or China since you seem to prefer National Socialist or Democratic Socialist systems. The reason Cruz passed NICS you obtuse leftist is because the Bolshevik chicken sheriff didn’t file charges any number of times he had the opportunity when the punk threatened students and others including assault. Then the school failed to get a restraining order to protect their students. Then the punk would have been in NICS. Furthermore, he had weapons obtained illegally. Were you born this ignorant or did you go to Columbia University? I think you should have to get a license to get an input devise and pass a background check for everything you post. Same thing to attend your Bloomberg & Soros funded astro-turf events. You don’t think that is funny do you? Yet you go after the 2nd Amendment and have flagrant disregard for the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments. I bet you have never thoroughly read The Federalist Papers much less the Anti-Federalist Papers.

    1. It is funny how NRA supporters demand absolute rights for themselves while denying rights to others. The obsession with Communists and Socialists and welfare queens seems to be more the expression of psychotic personalities than the reasonable comments from an informed mind. Hopefully, there are no assault weapons near anyone like you. Save your insults, pretty mouth. The American Revolution and the Civil War are over. It is the XXI Century!!! Get over it!!!!!
      By the way, Communism and Socialism does not exist in America. Regulated Capitalism is a different bird!!!!

  3. You cannot “compromise” your rights! You will never get them back. Its control by a thousand cuts. It’s sad the communist with these platforms refuse to call out the root of the problem( THE FAILURE OF A SHERIFF AND HIS DEPARTMENT) and rather shift their blame on an object. Sheriff Israel should be banned, he is guilty.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons