Florida Report: Latvala, sheriffs take out Brandes' NRA-backed gun bill


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gym
May 3, 2014, 11:55 PM
DATE: May 3, 2014
TO: USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President

Thursday, 5/1/14, the Florida Sheriffs Association killed SB-296/HB-209 -- the bill to allow citizens to carry their firearms with them (rather than leave firearms behind for looters) when they are under a mandatory evacuation during a declared state of emergency. Please read the clipping below:

Latvala, sheriffs help take out Brandes' NRA-backed gun bill | Naked Politics

Be perfectly clear, this was a straight up Second Amendment issue in its purest form. And the Florida Sheriffs Association opposed your fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms at a time when you most need to be able to protect yourself and your family.

And indeed, the US District Court in NC in Baseman vs. Perjure struck down emergency declaration laws like the Florida laws we were trying to fix.

The Court said:

"The problem here is that the emergency declaration statutes, are not narrowly tailored to serve the government's interest in public safety. They do not target dangerous individuals or dangerous conduct. Nor do they seek to impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by, for example, imposing a curfew to allow the exercise of Second Amendment rights during circumscribed times. Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest....Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid…"

Nonetheless, the Florida Sheriffs Association and a handful of Senate Republicans who joined Sen. Jack Latvala in abandoning the Second Amendment for the convenience of law enforcement, blocked restoration of your constitutional right. Knowing that if the bill were amended it would have to go back to House where it would NOT come up again, they voted 23-15 for an amendment they knew would kill the bill.

We believe the intention, all along, of the Florida Sheriffs Association was to kill the bill. They tried to kill HB-89 the so-called "warning shot" bill but failed. They pulled out all the stops on the mandatory evacuation bill.

Make no mistake, the Florida Sheriffs Association has declared war on the Second Amendment. Their actions have made it clear their 2013 Proclamation Supporting the Second Amendment was nothing more than camouflage.

Sheriffs repeatedly made it clear that the only thing they cared about was their convenience. Rhetorical questions like,

"How are we supposed to know who has guns?"
"How are we supposed to know if people are legally in possession of guns?"
"How are we supposed to know they are actually evacuating?"
"How are we supposed to know when we shine flashlights in cars and see guns that they are legal?" -- made it clear it was all about what they wanted and not about the rights and needs of the people they were elected to serve. They also made it clear, they prefer to presume you are a criminal rather than an honest citizen trying to protect your family and your property.

Also, please remember that not all Sheriffs agreed with the position taken by the top brass and lobbyists of the Association. You might ask your sheriffs which side they chose -- yours or the Association's.

Below is the Roll Call vote on the amendment. Passage of that amendment killed the bill, as it was intended to do. Sometimes you need to lose in order to identify the real enemy. This was one of those times.

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/0296/Vote/SenateVote_s0296c3019.PDF

TRUE Second Amendment Supporters who voted to protect your rights were:

Sen. Thad Altman (R)
Sen. Aaron Bean (R)
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
Sen. Rob Bradley (R)
Sen. Jeff Brandes (R)
Sen. Greg Evers (R)
Sen. Bill Galvano (R)
Sen. Andy Gardiner (R)
Sen. Tom Lee (R)
Sen. Joe Negron (R)
Sen. David Simmons (R)
Sen. Wilton Simpson (R)
Sen. Kelli Stargel (R)
Sen. John Trasher (R)
Sen. President Don Gaetz (R)

Those who voted for the Latvala amendment to kill the bill:

REPUBLICANS:
Sen. Charlie Dean
Sen. Nancy Detert
Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Sen. Rene Garcia
Sen. Denise Grimsley
Sen. Alan Hays
Sen. Jack Latvala
Sen. John Legg
Sen. Garrett Richter

DEMOCRATS:
Sen. Joe Abruzzo
Sen. Oscar Braynon
Sen. Dwight Bullard
Sen. Jeff Clemens
Sen. Audrey Gibson
Sen. Arthenia Joyner
Sen. Gwen Margolis
Sen. Bill Montford
Sen. Jeremy Ring
Sen. Maria Sachs
Sen. Chris Smith
Sen. Eleanor Sobel
Sen. Darren Soto
Sen. Geraldine Thompson
http://www.nraila.org/legislation/state-legislation.aspx, here is the browser version

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SnowBlaZeR2
May 4, 2014, 04:44 AM
Wait, what? I'm legally allowed to transport firearms, so how are they planning to stop me from doing so in an emergency? Is there something in the statutes that disallows that?

Zeeemu
May 4, 2014, 10:18 AM
Edited.

MedWheeler
May 4, 2014, 11:50 AM
How are we supposed to know when we shine flashlights in cars and see guns that they are legal?

Uh, you ask. Better yet, you assume (especially if it's a long gun, since handguns shouldn't be visible, anyway.)

Nonetheless, the Florida Sheriffs Association and a handful of Senate Republicans who joined Sen. Jack Latvala in abandoning the Second Amendment for the convenience of law enforcement,

It wasn't "for the convenience of law enforcement". The association is a political group far more than it is a law enforcement group; we all know that the vast majority of rank-and-file deputies and officers generally support the right of the LAC to be armed, especially in Florida.

The FSA is supporting politicians (and is being supported by them) and is not about the safety of the general public.

Thanks for the update, Gym.

gym
May 6, 2014, 03:18 PM
It appears like the Sheriffs, " A Cut Dog Barks", Quote from tha NRA-ILA,
Former Governor Lawton Chiles was fond of using the old southern saying, "a cut dog barks," when people were protesting too much.

I used that old saying yesterday. Gary Fineout, an AP reporter, tweeted that in our newsletter alert to members, I said the Florida Sheriffs Association had declared war on the Second Amendment.

Fineout then said, my statement prompted the Florida Sheriffs Association president "to all but call Hammer a liar at an event at the sheriffs association HQ."

Fineout again tweeted, that the sheriffs association president said on Marion Hammer's comments, "I'm outraged. I'm not mad. I'm outraged that she would say so, because it's absolutely not true."

Further, Fineout tweeted, the sheriffs association president said "that one reason the bill died was Marion Hammer did not want to cooperate and that she wanted a vague bill."

I responded to Fineout on those comments by saying "a cut dog barks."

For the record, the Florida Sheriffs Association president could not have possibly known what Marion Hammer wanted or did not want. He never bothered to ask me. He never had the courtesy to talk to me. He never had the courtesy to tell me that the Florida Sheriffs Association was going to try to either gut or kill the NRA supported bills.

They sent their contract lobbyist to try to get me to sacrifice your Second Amendment rights and your right of self-defense for the convenience of law enforcement. I refused.

What happened after that was an orchestrated effort to give a false impression of what the bill provided.

HB-209 passed the House and we were trying to pass it in the Senate. It would have allowed citizens to carry their firearms in their vehicles or on their persons EXCLUSIVELY when they were in the act of evacuating during the mandatory evacuation. Nothing more. Claims to the contrary are false.

Nothing in the bill would allow a person to "walk around with concealed guns -- even if they do not have concealed weapons permits -- during riots or natural disasters."

Nothing would allow a person to put a gun in their pocket and run to a riot.

Nothing would allow a person to take a side trip to Disneyland with guns in their pockets while evacuating.

Nothing would allow a person to go shopping at a mall and walk around for days with hidden guns. Those statements were totally false.

The bill says a person who may lawfully possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on or about his person "while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870."

Please look on lines 31-34. Click HERE to read it yourself.

Further, claims that you can already carry your firearms with you in your vehicle as long as they are securely encased are also deliberately misleading.

Under chapter 870, the minute a state of emergency is declared by a local official, a person cannot possess a firearm outside their home or off their own property because people are automatically prohibited from possessing a firearm in a public place.

That means you can't have a firearm in your vehicle because once you leave your property, the sidewalks, parking lots, roads and highways are public places. A firearm anywhere in your vehicle is in your constructive possession.
That also means if you live in an apartment complex or condo, you can't leave your apartment or condo with a firearm to get to your vehicle.

Anywhere on your person, or being carried, is in your manual possession. Common areas of apartment complexes are public places and are not a part of your home. (Florida courts have ruled that common areas, including halls, are public places and are not part of your home.)

Section 870.044 of Florida law says that once an emergency is declared, a person is automatically prohibited from"(3) The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty." Read it HERE

With the truth in mind, let's look at quotes from sheriffs:

One called the bill "insane." Is it insane for people to take their possessions, including their firearms, with them during a mandatory evacuation? They have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms and a constitutional right of self-defense. Further, leaving firearms behind where they can be stolen by looters or destroyed in a disaster is irresponsible.

The same sheriff said, "Trying to keep the peace during a stressful and chaotic emergency evacuation would likely be more difficult if more people were running around with guns, and besides, as written, the proposed law would have been difficult to enforce."

Again, if you actually read the bill, you will see that people would not be allowed to be "running around with guns" -- they would have to be in the act of evacuating.

Over and over and over in committee hearings, bill sponsors made it perfectly clear that "in the act of evacuating" means just that. It means when you leave your home or dwelling with your spouse, kids, dogs, photo albums and personal possessions you are clearly evacuating. And when you arrive at your destination, you are no longer evacuating. That is not vague and it is not hard to understand.

When anyone says we would not "cooperate" with the Florida Sheriffs Association, it is only partially true. We refused to give up or diminish your Second Amendment rights to make them happy. We don't view that as refusing to cooperate. We view that as standing strong to protect your Second Amendment rights against those who put their convenience above the Constitution.

As members of the NRA and USF you have a right to know what happened. Our newsletters tell you what happened. The fact that they fall into the hands our opponents on Second Amendment issues, is beyond our control. However, they are not secret and are not intended to be secret. We will continue to keep you informed. "End Quote"
We need to start writing letters and sending emails, and get this fixed, hopefully we don't have a bad season this year and they don't get the chance to enforce this ridiculous law, although can't see how they can unless you are stopped and searched during an evacuation, "which seems unlikely as they will have other things to worry about, like their own family's.

Ed N.
May 6, 2014, 04:49 PM
Over and over and over in committee hearings, bill sponsors made it perfectly clear that "in the act of evacuating" means just that. It means when you leave your home or dwelling with your spouse, kids, dogs, photo albums and personal possessions you are clearly evacuating. And when you arrive at your destination, you are no longer evacuating. That is not vague and it is not hard to understand.


I agree that the intent seems clear here, but I can also see situations in which practical application may get a bit cloudy. Saying what something means in a committee hearing isn't nearly as effective as writing exactly what you mean into the bill.

To negotiate successfully, it's often helpful to understand the other side's point of view, so consider a for a moment the following hypothetical situation:

--------------------------

John Doe is vacationing in Miami Beach beach. He has brought with him a legally owned handgun for his own protection. He does not have a CCW permit, so he keeps the handgun in his glove compartment or in his hotel room.

A hurricane approaches while John is on vacation, and an evacuation order comes through. John dutifully gets in his car and leaves, heading for his home in Tampa. Concerned about his safety in traffic jams and at gas stops, with tempers flaring and crowds evacuating, he moves his handgun from his glove compartment onto his person, concealing it in accordance with this new Florida law.

As he's approaching Tampa, using less crowded back roads, he stops to assist another motorist who's broken down, and a county sheriff's deputy also stops. As John bends over the engine compartment, the deputy notices John's concealed handgun and asks to see his CCW permit, which of course John doesn't have.

Now consider - John's ID shows that he lives in Tampa, not in the evacuation area. He is alone. He is not travelling along a marked evacuation route. His destination is not an evacuation shelter. He's now a couple of hundred miles away from the projected hurricane landfall.

IOW, he doesn't fit the description above: "...when you leave your home or dwelling with your spouse, kids, dogs, photo albums and personal possessions you are clearly evacuating." He didn't leave his home, and his destination is his home.

So what's the deputy do at this point? What should the protocol be? Does he arrest John Doe and let a judge decide? Does he say, "Yes, sir, I'm aware that there's an evacuation in progress elsewhere in the state, so you're within your rights to carry a concealed firearm?"

--------------------------

I can understand how a sheriff might find this a bit muddy, and more importantly I can understand how a sherrif in one county might decide things differently than the sheriff in a neighboring county.

I suspect that such concerns could be addressed easily in the bill, and if the sheriffs had truly been on our side they might have recommended a few things to improve the bill, rather than just acting to kill it.

Hopefully the bill can be improved for the next attempt.

But things would sure be a lot easier if the Gov't and law enforcement really grasped "shall not be infringed."

MedWheeler
May 6, 2014, 10:08 PM
In the text quoted by Gym, it appears that the "emergency measures" statute around which all this revolves is FSS 870. This section deals only with emergencies (states of) related to riots, unlawful assemblies, and other gatherings of people that lead to, or may lead to, acts of violence.

While I still disagree (based only on what I know as of the moment) with the FSA's stance on disarming the law-abiding while still failing to step in and protect the same, there is no mention of hurricanes or other natural disasters in FSS 870. At the present, I am unaware of any other statute that automatically revokes carry licenses in the event of such natural disaster evacuations. I fail to see why I'd be able to bring my firearm(s) with me while fleeing a hurricane (or nuclear emergency for example), but not while fleeing a neighborhood being ravaged by roving throngs of marauding rioting bandits.

Ed N.
May 7, 2014, 11:06 AM
MedWheeler, I think you're correct that FS 870 isn't the issue. Evacuations, and potential firearms issues, come from FS 252, which says, in part:

(5) In addition to any other powers conferred upon the Governor by law, she or he may:
.
.
.
(e) Direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if she or he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other emergency mitigation, response, or recovery.
.
.
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(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles. However, nothing contained in ss. 252.31-252.90 shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in the commission of a criminal act.


It seems that the Governor can, at his discretion, outlaw the "transportation" of firearms (which would seem to encompass CCW) during an emergency evacuation.

The FS 870 reference doesn't make much sense to me, either. I don't think I've ever seen "evacuation" ordered in an area where there was a riot. An order to stay in your homes would be more likely than in evacuation order in such a circumstance.

MedWheeler
May 7, 2014, 08:44 PM
Thanks, Ed. That was the clause I was trying to remember, that the prohibition of possession of firearms in public wasn't automatic; that it had to be included in a directive issued by the Governor in addressing an evacuation due to a state of emergency.

I have never heard of a mandatory evacuation being ordered due to a riot or other unstable and unlawful assembly. Usually, it's quite the opposite; people are ordered to stay home.

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