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?


Joe Henderson

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.


  • gary

    August 12, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Joe Adolf is at it again… Take their guns lobby is a fail! F/U!

  • Narcoossee

    August 12, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Because they’re unconstitutional, and if you can use this law for firearms, there’s no reason it could not be used for any number of other things that people are afraid of. Time to have more understanding of the constitution, Joe! Just sayin’.

  • Gene Ralno

    August 12, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Politicians who support this notion will regret the day they ever heard of red flag laws. Their legacies will carry a Supreme Court scolding and perhaps be the landmark of their careers. The Supreme Court isn’t about to jeopardize its own reputation by reducing the ability of private citizens to defend themselves.

    It’s especially important to the justices because currently, half the nation’s murders occur in only 63 counties while the other half are spread across the other 3,081 counties. Said another way, 15 percent had one murder and 54 percent of the nation’s counties had no murders at all.

    These laws were created to dilute power licensed to the psychiatric community and transfer it to unqualified persons the democrats can influence, e.g., local judges and disgruntled aunts. Democrats and weak minded Republicans are victims of the bum’s rush. They’ve been hoodwinked by Bloomberg’s rhetoric and haven’t read his 2018 data.

    It reveals gun homicides declined seven percent, firearm injuries declined 10 percent, fatal child shootings (under 18) declined 12 percent and unintentional shootings plummeted 21 percent. Generally, since 1991, the murder rate has fallen by 45 percent and the overall violent crime rate has fallen by 48 percent.

    The natural next step for any Nazified government was to codify empowerment of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors, judges, police officers, boyfriends, girlfriends, classmates, teachers, faculty, employers, co-workers and everyone except those actually qualified to judge mental competence. Soon they’ll want to choose an upper age limit for people to be “allowed by the government” to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

  • Sandy Oestreich

    August 13, 2019 at 10:58 am

    A couple of comments here are phrased in such a way to tag the Commentor as an uncaring and dangerous gunman! WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO CARRY AT ALL. Seems we must demand psychological testing for all gun sales.
    Why are we left worrying about our childrens’ LIVES in order to salve over people who are addicted to killing things.Sorry to interrupt the “games” !

    Why kowtow to NRA,it’s already been charged ?!


Comments are closed.


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