Op-Ed: Preemption of gun regulations needed


Op-Ed: Preemption of gun regulations needed

Michael Gold, Editor

This week, I am going to take exception to our counterparts at The Record in their opinion of “home rule” and the proper jurisdiction for gun regulations in Florida.

First off, I acknowledge that local government can implement the provisions of Constitutional Amendment 12 regarding additional background checking and extending the “cooling off” period from three days to five days. But should they?

An adult man or woman of rational mind, someone who follows the laws, gets delayed a couple of extra days before they are ultimately allowed to purchase their firearm. They are not the problem. A criminal who wants a handgun is going to get if from someone, if they have to steal it from the glovebox of someone’s car.

For years now, the state has controlled the registration of individuals who have met the minimum standards to purchase a firearm and carry it concealed. As someone who has carried a handgun for self-protection for longer than that, I remember when each county had a process for either the sheriff or the board of commissioners to approve such licenses. It was more problems than it was worth. It led to inconsistencies for those buying and carrying firearms in Florida as well as oversights in the enforcement of minimum standards for criminal records checks being performed.

Adam Putnam’s office, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has done a respectable job regulating the administration of consumer and professional carry laws in Florida, so I see no need to interfere in that.

I rarely find examples where more government regulation and fewer liberties for citizens is desirable, or even warranted. I fail to see where one life will be saved or where Florida’s existing gun laws will be “strengthened”, which is ostensibly the reason for this change. Just seven of Florida’s 67 counties have implemented Amendment 12. That should tell you something. St Johns County is one of the super-majority who have said “no”, that should tell you something, too.

If the proposal was to improve, standardize and require more firearm training or more testing on a pistol range before licensure, you’d have my attention. This might as well be a proposal to enact another five-cent sales tax increase on handgun purchases. That would only increase the burden of owning a firearm, but it won’t curtail it.

I do believe that government closest to the citizens governs best, however, just as there are some services that are better handled by a federal government, there are others better handled by a state government.

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