As state Rep. Anthony Sabatini pushes his controversial ‘constitutional carry’ legislation, he will appear at a Second Amendment forum Monday.
But there’s already anger he’s sharing the stage with radio host Bill Mick, who has been criticized for sympathizing with anti-Semitic callers.
The “2A Gun Rights Preservation Forum” will be held Monday in Cocoa at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Republican Liberty Caucus Chair Bob White also will appear at the forum. So will radio host Royce Bartlett, whose “Shooting Straight” show appears on the same network as Mick’s “Bill Mick Live.”
Organizers with Trump 2020 Brevard promise the event will “push back at the ‘Gun Grabbers’ in Tallahassee and the BAWN (Ban Assault Weapons Now) group.”
Those are notably different powers. Supporters of BAWN, a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban semi-automatic weapons, embarked on their effort in response to Florida lawmakers refusing to consider similar legislation, contributing to Florida’s reputation as an extremely pro-gun state.
But gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association sued the Legislature over a school safety law approved in the way of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High mass shooting. So there has been friction in recent years over gun control legislation in Tallahassee.
But it’s not that legislation that has Jewish leaders in Brevard County agitated. It’s that Sabatini will appear alongside Mick at the forum.
In August, Mick came under fire from the Anti-Defamation League Florida after taking a call on his show from someone espousing anti-Semitic beliefs and seemingly expressing sympathy, according to Florida Today.
“The caller who identified himself as Mark espoused textbook anti-Semitic views while paradoxically also claiming antisemitism to be a hoax,” read a letter from the League to WMMB, which carries the show.
“It was therefore quite disappointing to hear Mr. Mick not dismiss the caller’s bigoted views, or end the call entirely as he (does) with callers he disagrees with, but rather jovially engage with the caller and even himself dismiss those offended by anti-Semitism as ‘snowflakes.’”
Mick also got into a kerfuffle with lawmakers in Tallahassee after criticizing an anti-Semitism bill ultimately signed into law in a ceremony in Israel. Mick reportedly said of the bill on his show, “We don’t want the Jews to feel bad that somebody might say something about them.”
Sabatini did not respond to requests for comment about the forum.
Mick responded to a social media direct message days after the event. He noted one of the rabbis who signed a letter criticizing Mick also appeared at the event and gave the invocation. He reiterated in the message, and on his radio broadcast, that he is not anti-Semitic.
He believes reactions to the original caller interaction in question have been misinterpreted, and that he often spends more time talking on his show with listeners he disagrees with than those who share his views.
“Anyone who knows me or has looked into the false allegations has come away knowing that I am not that kind of person,” Mick said.
On his show, he said Sabatini before the event or this article’s original publication had called him to discuss concerns about the accusations. But he said Sabatini left the conversation comfortable Mick was not anti-Semitic.