Say you’re walking down the street with an AR-15 secreted under your arm or a Glock holstered around your waist; and a gust of wind blows back your military surplus-issue flak jacket from your weekend militia activity, revealing the muzzle of your beloved widow maker. What … do … you … do…?
In Florida, the answer will soon be, “breathe a sigh of relief.”
The Republican legislature, which spent this week passing a half dozen bills restricting abortion, is poised to send three spanking new laws to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk that will ensure that once the forcibly born are of shootin’ age, they’ll be able to display their hardware free from persecution by the law.
From the Palm Beach Post:
TALLAHASSEE — With NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer sitting in the front row of the public gallery, the Republican-controlled Florida Senate on Thursday easily approved three bills loosening gun laws, including one that would decriminalize the accidental showing of a concealed weapon.
Another measure (HB 155) restricts doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, and the third (HB 45) prohibits local governments from passing stricter gun laws than the state. Those two already were approved by the House and are now headed to Gov. Rick Scott, an NRA member and gun owner who has said he would sign them into law.
The concealed weapon bill (SB 234)was originally proposed as an “open carry” bill, but during committee meetings, representatives of law enforcement said it would endanger them and retail businesses said they were worried about the likely “Wild West” effect on the state’s image.
Wait, hold on, did you see that? Florida was one quiet retail lobbyist away from Arizona-style, strap it on your hip open carry.
Jesus, take the wheel …
So the bill was modified Wednesday to decriminalize “accidentally or inadvertently display(ing a) firearm to the ordinary sight of another person so long as the firearm is not displayed in a rude, angry, or threatening manner.”
It goes to the House, which is expected to also approve it.
Under current law, a person with a concealed weapon permit could be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for inadvertently showing a weapon.
“The open-carry language was put in the bill to protect people who were being abused because of purely inadvertent exposure (of their firearm),” Hammer said. “Now, we finally found a way that we think may work. If it doesn’t, we’ll be back (next year).”
Because don’t you just hate when that happens?
These bills could have serious implications in South Florida, where violent crime rates are somewhat higher than in the rural counties where accidentally showing your shotgun is mainly an inconvenience for hunters.
I wonder how cops in Miami feel about the possibility that on any given traffic stop, they might spy a gun in the passenger seat, and not be able to do a damned thing about it, so long as the display is “accidental.”
Meanwhile, there’s more good news for the conscious gun owner. It turns out being on the FBI’s terrorist watch list won’t hold you back in the slightest from getting even more guns:
Hundreds of people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list were cleared to purchase firearms in 2010, prompting at least one lawmaker and Capitol Hill gun-reformer to reiterate a call for tougher rules.
Of the 272 individuals on the terrorist watch list who attempted to buy firearms last year, 247 were allowed to make the purchase, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported Wednesday. …
…Under current law, licensed gun dealers must perform background checks on all potential buyers to screen for those ineligible to possess firearms, including felons, illegal immigrants, spousal abusers and the severely mentally ill.
The list of ineligibles, however, does not include those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list, which houses data on people “known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism.”
The 25 individuals on the terrorist list who were denied approval last year were disqualified for reasons that included felony conviction and domestic violence.
“There is no basis to automatically prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives because they appear on the terrorist watch list,” the GAO reported.
And, if you’re on the watch list AND your guns actually show? You’re golden in the sunshine state.