Connect with us

Emails & Opinions

Joe Henderson: Red flags are flapping on Mike Hill gun bill

Why wouldn’t we want something that could reveal warning signs about potential gun buyers?

Republican state Rep. and National Rifle Association tool Mike Hill filed a bill to overturn Florida’s so-called “red flag” provision for gun sales, along with some other restrictions.

He also wants to eliminate the three-day waiting period to buy a gun, the state’s bump stock ban, and the requirement that buyers for most weapons be at least 21 years old.

By the way, the federal government banned bump stocks in 2018.

Even as gun-friendly as the Florida Legislature can be, Hill’s HB 6033 won’t pass and probably won’t get out of committee, just like the vast majority of his proposals. So why is he wasting the House’s time on a doomed and loony idea?

Because that’s who he is.

Hill is the same guy who was laughed along with a suggestion from the crowd at a rally that Old Testament-style execution is the way to deal with gays. A state lawmaker joining in that knee-snapper is a huge red flag to me, but that’s a column for another time.

The idea of keeping guns away from people who show unmistakable signs of being a danger to fellow humans is so basic that, dare I say it, even Mike Hill should see the logic. Maybe that is asking too much, though.

On the other hand, the NRA, to which Hill and millions of others pledge fealty, oppose that safeguard too. The NRA says that even if a red-flag law keeps a thousand mentally damaged people from legally buying a gun, it doesn’t counter-balance if one person is wrongly denied.

To the NRA, and presumably to Hill, that’s worth the risk. The Second Amendment trumps everything.

I’ve heard all the arguments, believe me.

Some folks have nicely gun-splaned them to me. Others have been more forceful, using words generally reserved for the football field. Either way, they make no sense.

I don’t get it.

The United States leads the world in the number of mass murders by, like, a lot. We also have more guns than any other country by, like, a lot.

The correlation seems obvious to me.

Second Amendment literalists fight any attempt at regulation, though. They believe these checks open the door for the government to confiscate their guns. They are wrong, but there is no convincing a true believer of that.

Even President Donald Trump said we need these checks.

Lordy, I never thought I would agree with him on anything.

I am skeptical anything meaningful will happen, though.


Trump promised the NRA would be “fully represented and respected” in such discussions.

Speaking of red flags …

NRA head Wayne LaPierre has already said he won’t support restrictions. He is the same guy who came up with that “good guy with a gun” crap after children were murdered at Sandy Hook.

LaPierre will serve his special No Restrictions Kool-aid during these talks and play the delaying game. Then his foot soldiers in Congress, wary of losing campaign donations, will blame the Democrats for not going along.

So, I ask this simple question about background checks and red flags, genuinely wanting to understand.

How can anyone oppose this?

Why wouldn’t we want something that could reveal red flags about potential gun buyers, or is it better to wait until after they go on a killing spree? Does opposing that make sense?


Written By

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.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.