Longshot bid for Special Session on guns falls short

Assault Weapon
It was unlikely there were ever going to be enough votes.

There’s not going to be a Special Session this year to discuss gun reform, according to a legislative vote tally released late Friday. 

The Florida House Democratic caucus called for a Special Legislative Session Tuesday “to address the epidemic of gun violence in our state.”

The ask was likely doomed from the start. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the House 73-47 and the state Senate 23-17.

And those party lines are precisely how the votes were shaping up Friday.

In responses to how they planned to vote, only Democrats in both the House and the Senate favored the Special Session. Republicans voted against it with one House Democrat, Al Jacquet of Riviera Beach, siding with Republicans. 

Technically the Legislature has until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to submit votes, but those submitted so far show there won’t be enough in the affirmative to move forward.

To call a Special Session, three-fifths of each chamber must vote in favor. In the House, that’s 72 members; in the Senate, it’s 24.

So far, Democrats have 30 votes in the House and 10 in the Senate. Thirty-four members of the House have yet to vote and 15 in the Senate, but even if every Democrat still holding out votes in the affirmative, it wouldn’t be enough. 

The House could gain 16 votes, which could only bring the total “yes” votes to 46, 26 votes shy of the needed threshold. Only seven Senate Democrats are still slated to vote, which would bring that chamber’s tally to 17, seven shy of the required number there. 

Republicans in both chambers, as well as GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, have said they prefer to address the issue in the Legislature’s regular Session, which starts Jan. 14. Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker José Oliva opposed the Special Session.

Democrats started their push in response to a recent spate of mass shootings including in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which took 31 lives. A week before that, a gunman shot and killed three people — including a 6-year-old and a 13-year-old — and injured 13 others at the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival.

Florida Democrats are also still sensitive to gun reform legislation more than one year after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty. 

Democrats continue to call on initiatives like assault weapons bans and comprehensive background checks for gun purchases.

Republicans stand by the 2nd Amendment, calling instead for things like better mental health access and, for schools, “hardening” of campuses. Some Republicans favor “campus carry” laws that would allow guns on public university and college grounds. 

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


9 comments

  • JAMIN

    August 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Nothing ever works properly when the legislature AND the Governor are of the same party.
    In this case, they party that’s i power, is in the pockets of the NRA.
    Scratching each others proverbial back. How many more lives will we lose before anything is changed?
    It’s so sad that money is the driving force, not the value of human life.

  • blake harper (the real blake harper!)

    August 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Absolutely none of the laws that gun grabbers propose will reduce the violence. Federal Department of Justice just published it’s periodic survey of criminals behind bars for violent offenses that include guns. 255,000 from across the US were part of the process. Criminals are criminals and that is just was was proven by this governmental research: 90% got guns thru illegal straw purchases, theft, ‘finding guns’ at crime scenes, being given or loaned a firearm. Of the remaining 10%, 8.8% purchased guns legally and had background check performed (got stupid afterwards). The remaining 1.2% of the 255,000+ convicted violent offenders purchased them at gun shows or flea markets. These facts prove that there is no such thing as a ‘gun show’ loophole as the gun grabbers claim.

    Thugs get more guns from unlocked cars. More people die from either hammers or knives each year than from ‘assault rifles’. The overwhelming evidence is that criminals don’t obey laws, they don’t respect laws, they are laws unto themselves.

    Firearms are the great equalizer against these thugs . . . a 90 year old 90 lb woman can take down a 250 lb thug with the single pull of the trigger finger. Equal rights for the weak, the aged, the preyed upon!

    What is more telling is the statistic that is out there that people refuse to admit but that conservative black commentator threw down on liberal white commenator David Ruben . . . and that is that 70% of the gun deaths occur between young black men . . . this is across the nation.

    What is clear is that the root cause of this violence is the total abdication in our culture of parenthood.

    ‘Hittin it’ has no consequences . . . if the female doesn’t get an abortion (75 Million since Roe v. Wade, with a racial disparity that is heavily black . . . more black children aborted in The Big Apple than born, for example) . . . she goes on ‘benefits’ . . . the child never has a father figure in the house to provide a moral and righteous role model . . . so they turn to the streets and all the crap in those streets . . . . time and time again this narrative is lived out.

    BOTTOM LINE . . . GET AN EDUCATION, GET A JOB, GET MARRIED, HAVE CHILDREN . . . THIS, BY THE WAY, COMES FROM OBAMA’S DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. ALSO, TURN TO THE ONE TRUE AND TIMELESS SET OF PRINCIPLES THAT MADE THIS COUNTRY STRONG.

  • The real Jim

    August 24, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Comment didn’t post…test

  • The Real Jim Davis

    August 24, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Because SCOTUS used District of Columbia v. Heller to establish what is and isn’t the meaning of the Second Amendment, and McDonald v. Chicago tested that decision, The right is not only settled law, but delineated clearly. This is a Fundamental Right- meaning the U.S. Constitution must be changed to change the right.

    Because SCOTUS referenced United States v. Cruikshank in both decisions, Florida Democrats have already committed a series of felonies. Cruikshank declares:

    In United States v. Cruikshank 92 US 542 1867 The US Supreme Court holds

    “That if two or more persons shall band or conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway, or upon the premises of another, with intent to violate any provision of this act, or to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having exercised the same, such persons shall be held guilty of felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both, at the discretion of the court, — the fine not to exceed $5,000, and the imprisonment not to exceed ten years; and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to, and disabled from holding, any office or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the constitution or laws of the United States.”

    For those who claim this is for Federal law and communities have autonomy, the decision, which is still established law rules:

    “The people of the Untied States resident within any State are subject to the two governments. The powers which one possesses, the other does not…Together they make one whole government, ample for the protection of all their rights at home and abroad.”

    This establishes that no government, or elected official, or citizen can violate the rights of a citizen as prescribed by Federal Law or the US Constitution- and just conspiring to do so is a first degree felony with 10 years liability in prison- furthermore: positions as legislators are not protected from that liability.

    Frankly, I smell class action lawsuit and prosecutions in the wind.

  • The real Jim Davis

    August 24, 2019 at 10:38 am

    This law holds the Democrats involved already guilty:

    ““That if two or more persons shall band or conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway, or upon the premises of another, with intent to violate any provision of this act, or to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having exercised the same, such persons shall be held guilty of felony,”

    After their conviction they are liable for:

    “shall be held guilty of felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both…”

    This is one of the only times I know where evidence declares one guilty even before conviction.

    I suspect this is just how serious the SCOTUS is about defending the Constitutional rights of American citizens.

  • The Real Jim Davis

    August 24, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Florida citizens now need a class action attorney to hold these criminals responsible for their attack on the Civil, and Fundamental rights of US citizens in the state of Florida

  • NoMoreRepublicans!

    August 26, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Naturally! Hopefully, beginning on January 21, 2021, a Democratic President, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate begin to totally negate the likes of Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association, and a mass of other Republican refuse existing nationwide. I also have no doubt the Democrats will gain the majority in the Florida Senate and will be able to begin reducing the damage that insider Republicans and their favored special interests have been perpetrating in Florida for the past 22 years!

    • TheRealJimDavis

      August 27, 2019 at 5:18 am

      It’s unfortunate that, while the rest of the world wishes they’d been born in America: there are people like NoMoreRepublicans who hate the blessings of freedom they’ve been born with. Many of these ingrates hide behind $1.99 bandannas and fictitious names- cowards.

    • b harper

      September 1, 2019 at 8:35 am

      Agree with you that we need to get rid of the Republicans who have sold out to liberal/socialist/progressive cancer. GENUINE REPUBLICANS are your only hope . . . we stand for Founding Principles, including Free Speech (which allows you to speak your opinion) which are protected by the 2nd Amendment.

      NoMoreRepublicans . . . if you are a thinking person, and I expect that you are, there will be a day when you disagree with your cherished Democrat Party . . . or like Winston Churchill opined, will mature and gain a brain . . . and when that time comes, you will find yourself in a dire predicament for you will have lost your rights to voice your dissent.

Comments are closed.


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