Florida Republicans rallied without Democrats around a House Memorial on Thursday that formally rejects President Joe Biden’s gun control efforts.
The proposal (HM 1301) is intended to express the Legislature’s stance against Biden’s gun control proposals, calling the measures “unconstitutional.”
Supporters said Biden has made it clear that he wants to restrict gun rights and Congress needs to know Florida will fight any such effort.
“The president during his campaign and subsequently has made comments that several of us feel are alarming and indicate that he may be predisposed to taking an unconstitutional action regarding the Second Amendment,” said Republican Rep. Spencer Roach, who added the memorial will serve as a “deterrent” to the federal government.
Further, it declares the Legislature’s intent is to use “all lawful means necessary to resist and overturn any federal gun-control measures that violate the right of Floridians to keep and bear arms.”
While directed at Biden, the memorial does not list any specific gun control measures. The memorial instead rejects any proposals “forthcoming at the federal level to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.”
Democrats repeatedly asked the bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Jason Shoaf, to cite a specific measure.
“It makes me feel like this memorial is more about scaring Floridians than it is engaging in an honest constitutional debate. There have been no actions that the bill sponsor can point to that restrict our important rights under the Second Amendment, but there have been multiple mass shootings in this country,” said Rep. Ben Diamond, a St. Petersburg Democrat.
Biden has called on Congress to tighten gun laws, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault-style weapons, and advocated for a crackdown on “ghost guns,” which are homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without a background check.
He’s also moving to tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in a Boulder, Colorado, shooting last month that left 10 dead. He has also encouraged Congress to outlaw high-capacity magazines and make gun manufacturers liable for the role their products play in violence.
Democrats, meanwhile, uniformly opposed the memorial.
Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco described the memorial as “red meat” and said it does not represent his views or the views of many Floridians.
Democratic Rep. Andrew Learned, a Naval officer, lamented the Republican-controlled chamber’s stubbornness on gun control.
Democratic Rep. Joe Geller said the House should instead work to prevent gun violence.
“Every day someone loses their life,” Geller said. “What is our response?”
The Associated Press contributed to this post. Republished with permission.