My letter to Gov. Scott:
As a Lifetime NRA member, I ask you to veto the misleading “open carry” bill
Dear Governor Scott,
During your campaign you vowed to sign an “open carry” bill if one was approved by the legislature. No such bill was passed, although one passed through every required Senate and House Committee. But on the floor of the Senate, special interests, using dubious procedural mechanisms, drastically changed this bill. It no longer protects open carry–in fact it explicitly says it is illegal. Instead, it establishes arbitrary and capricious standards to be applied by law enforcement officers in the field which put law-abiding gun owners in peril of arrest. Perhaps, after the cost and trauma of a trial, these innocent gun owners might prevail under this new law. But this hardly seems to comport with the dignity that should be afforded to a citizen’s rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as Article I, Sec. 8 of the Florida Constitution. Can you imagine the outrage if the First Amendment were so treated, such as with a prior restraint power presumed lawful?
This bill denigrates the Second Amendment and law abiding gun owners. It is worse than nothing. If you veto this bill, the law abiding gun owners of this state will return next year–an election year, I might add–to let their representatives know that the Second Amendment should not be treated as an inconvenient afterthought. But if this bill becomes law, the prospects for open carry in Florida–lawful in 43 other states–are immeasurably dimmed. The Legislature, under the same baneful influence of the same special interests, will now say, falsely, “We’ve changed the law your benefit–those not satisfied are extremists.” And the anti-gun press will obligingly peddle this story. For gun owners this is deja vu from 1986, when an otherwise welcomed piece of gun legislation was before Congress–when, at the last minute, under very suspect circumstances, Democrat-demanded provisions regarding automatic weapons were inserted. And they have not been able to be undone in the quarter century since. Indeed, anyone who questions them now is labeled “an extremist”, although law abiding gun owners acted responsibly without them for decades prior. This is how rights are eroded.
When you declined to accept the Obama adminstration’s high speed rail funds, we supported you and your courage. In fact, in your campaign, gun owners were perhaps your greatest supporters, and we hope to be so again in 3 more years. Please, support us and do not bless this dirty, ill-conceived compromise. As it did in 1986, the NRA will try to save face and will support this bill. It was wrong then and it will be wrong now. Please listen to the rank and file gun owners of Florida who will have to live under this bad law.
NRA Life Member