Now that we have your attention, please continue.
This past legislative season saw several gun bills described as Second Amendment bills. Now, with the campaigns for Governor and Agriculture Commissioner taking shape, the “defenders” of the Second Amendment are heralding their bona fides. Adam Putnam in particular has featured his “pro Second Amendment” stance in his social media ads. Putnam touts his tenure as Ag Commissioner and the increase in CCW permits issued during this time. As for CCW’s, they are personal choices and not a function of who is Ag Commissioner. It just so happens the legislature has assigned this function to the Department of Agriculture. We looked for bills he introduced as a federal congressman that would roll back federal infringements on the Second Amendment and found none. But enough about Mr. Putnam.
Let’s deal with those gun bills in the recent legislative session. The “pro” gun bills if you will, had nothing to do with the Second Amendment. They were expansions of Article 1 Section 8 of the Florida Declaration of Rights in our state constitution. That document empowers the legislature to address the manner in which the bearing of arms may be implemented. Open carry is an A1 S8 of the Florida constitution, Declaration of Rights issue, not a 2A issue. Campus carry, same thing. It is the Florida legislature, not the federal government prohibiting the open carry of firearms and the carrying of firearms on campus. Unfortunately, the term “Second Amendment” has become a generic marketing ploy for all things pro firearms. Along the way the meaning, purpose and prohibitions of the amendment have gotten watered down and forgotten. The truth is there’s more marketing going on here than actual substance.
The Second Amendment as written is a prohibition on the federal government. In creating the Bill of Rights, the framers, life and death familiar with the threat of standing armies, wanted to make sure the new government they were creating could not infringe upon the rights of citizens to be armed. (This right was recognized in the sovereign states prior to the creation of the voluntary union.) Armed you see, because they not only believed in the natural right of self defense, but they also knew that local militias, comprised of armed citizens would be the only bulwark against an out of control central government with a standing army. As Rob Natelson explains in “The Original Constitution, What it Said and Meant” (page 175): ” The activity prohibited was to “infringe.” The meaning of infringe in eighteenth century dictionaries was to violate a law or contract. A few sources gave a second meaning of “destroy,” which would imply that the amendment interdicted only legislation that completely destroyed the right. However, most dictionaries defined “infringe” to include intrusions less than total destruction. This suggests that it breached the Second Amendment to reduce in any way the right to keep and bear arms.”
With that in mind, it is easy to see the federal government has been infringing on the right to keep and bear arms since it determined that sawed off shotguns are illegal and automatic fire weapons require a federal permit. Going back to the National Firearms Act of 1934, the central government has continuously been re-defining the words the Second Amendment. The federals reduced this unlimited right to a privilege and they dole out this privilege in doses with which they feel the people can be trusted. Even Justice Antonin Scalia, considered by gun people to be a hero said this regarding the Second Amendment-“It will have to be decided in future cases what limitations upon the right to bear arms are permissible,” he added. “Some undoubtedly are.”
So, back to our Florida defenders of the Second Amendment. Anyone currently holding office or running for office in Florida who accepts federal infringements is not a defender or protector of ” Second Amendment Rights.” All federal firearms “laws” infringing on, diluting or destroying RKBA are in fact no law at all. A Federal Firearms License to own an automatic weapon? Infringement.
The only acceptable stance for a pro Second Amendment Florida politician is to first acknowledge and denounce all current infringements, and to sponsor and/or support legislation in our state that frustrates current federal infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. This includes the National Firearms Act, National Instant Criminal Background Search (NICS) the FFL requirement and any BATFE “agency rule” that violates the Constitution’s requirement that Congress shall make all law; and that law must be pursuant to the Constitution. If they accept these infringements “as the law of the land” they are being disingenuous.
The wording to just such a bill was introduced into the Florida House in 2013 as the Florida Second Amendment Preservation Act. For various reasons that won’t be visited here, it was withdrawn by the House sponsor and his ten co sponsors. It never did obtain a senate sponsor.
So let’s get back to those politician supporters of our “Second Amendment Rights.” Maybe they should change their position to “I support a Right to Keep and Bear Arms.” From this statement they can go on to explain to to what degree they believe your freedom to keep and bear arms should be allowed. Better yet, they could talk about our state constitution’s Article 1 Section 8 and what they intend to do to remove those limitations.