In the aftershock of the February shooting at a high school at Parkland, FL, the state senate passed a feel-good bill that does little to prevent such tragedies from happening again but could do a great deal to bolster Governor Rick Scott’s upcoming campaign for US Senate since the bill is essentially his plan.
Replete with a host of Constitution-killing provisions, the bill that Democrat Senator Lauren Book said didn’t go far enough passed 20-18, thanks in large part to Republican Senator and Senate President Bill Galvano’s effort to push it through despite any Constitutional repercussions. Galvano defended himself by saying, “We’re hitting nerves. We’re going into areas that may not be our comfort zone.”
Yeah, Mr. Galvano, shredding the Constitution can be uncomfortable.
The bill went right down the “for the children” checklist used by anti-gun progressives, including raising the age to 21 to buy a gun and denying gun rights to people with mental health issues. Businesses that have adopted policies raising the age to 21 are beginning to pay the price--literally--due to lawsuits being filed for age discrimination, and the mental health approach is already creating a Constitutional crisis.
So far, five have passed laws that allow people to anonymously report perceived “threats” to local authorities who can then have the court issue an order to remove all firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others—by force, if necessary—using what is commonly referred to an “extreme risk protection order” (ERPO).
No warrant. No arrest. No charges.
So, what’s the worst that can happen with an extreme risk protection order? Seattle Police recently became the first law enforcement agency in the state of Washington to use an ERPO to forcibly confiscate guns from a man based only on the word of neighbors who complained that he “stared” at them while wearing a holstered firearm. Open carry is legal in the locality where he lives.
Though the man had no criminal record and had never been charged with a crime, Seattle Police used force to seize his guns, an action supported by one of the neighbors who reported him.
“I’m very supportive of this law. It was an immediate crisis and law enforcement was able to remove his firearms, so it very well could have saved lives.”
Florida legislators want us to believe that the Parkland, FL shooting wouldn't have happened if their potpourri of gun laws had been in effect. However, the fact is that Nikolas Cruz had displayed multiple red flags under existing laws that should have prevented his purchase of firearms. The tragic event happened because local law enforcement and social workers from several agencies simply failed to perform their duties.
Unfortunately, in post-Constitutional America where politicians willingly leverage tragedies into opportunities to gain more control over our lives, serious problems like mental illness could become a catch-all used to shred our Constitutional rights.