Anti-Second-Amendment initiatives are nothing new. Federal, state and even local municipalities have long attempted to enact laws that restrict our ability to own (or carry) firearms. True, things have been trending our way for quite some time.
Many younger people are unaware that as recently as the 1980s, in most states local sheriffs or chiefs of police had the power to deny an application to carry a gun, often on a whim. Abuse of this power was rampant, with approvals often limited to political cronies or people who could “demonstrate a need” — a difficult task at best, with most applicants failing.
Today, thanks to the efforts of gun-rights activists across the nation, in concert with pro-gun-rights legislators, shall issue is the rule in all but a tiny handful of states. Unless the court can bring forth evidence as to why the applicant should be denied, the state shall issue such a permit or license. The burden of proof is back where it belongs: on the state, not the citizen.
Some states have even gone to constitutional carry, where no license or permit is needed. Many constitutional scholars agree, arguing that the Second Amendment already protects this right, as it clearly delineates between the right to “keep” (own) and “bear” (carry) arms.
But make no mistake: The battle is hardly over. As the 2018 midterm elections get closer, a surprising number of politicians have become more open about their anti-Second-Amendment views.
A perfect example is what is occurring here in Florida. Andrew Gillum, Democrat candidate for governor, has openly declared his opposition to Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” (SYG) law:
Gillum repeats the false assertion that the law prevents police from arresting a suspect after a shooting where self-defense is claimed. But, as Marrion Hammer, the NRA representative who worked for the law’s passage, notes, “nothing in the law prohibits a Sheriff from making an arrest in a case where a person claims self-defense if there is probable cause that the use of force was unlawful.” He is correct. SYG is not some kind of legal Kevlar vest that allows you to run amok without consequence.
More to the point, Gillum, a one-term mayor of Tallahassee, has also supported other radical policies and banning so-called “assault weapons.” According to ABC News, “Gillum defeated former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, an heir to a Florida political dynasty — her father, Bob Graham, was once the state’s governor and U.S. senator.”
Ominously, they also report that Gillum “had the endorsement of progressive icon Bernie Sanders and a recent cash infusion from billionaire George Soros.” Surprise, surprise. This November, Gillum will face Republican Ron De Santis, who has been reliably pro-Second-Amendment, even proposing open carry without a license or permit.
In a number of critical special elections over the past year, voter turnout has been downright embarrassing — as low as 27 percent. If you are a gun owner, especially if you carry a gun, you simply must get to the polls in November and vote.