Florida and the Gun Debate

Updated 8/5/18

Here is the text of the 2nd Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The way I read this and what we are missing in a modern context is the presence of militia. Militias were a part of daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries in the US. They brought up citizens into familiarity with firearms. You would be trained and screened, in an 18th Century sort of way by the militia you were a part of. It provided both training and a social network around the use of firearms. Militias don’t exist today, at least not in that context. So what are we missing today that militias brought us back then? Easy, two things. 1 – training. We see rap artists and movie stars using firearms in an unsafe, exaggerated way. That’s not the right way. If we want to be around and own firearms, we need to be trained in their use and informed about the harm they can cause. You don’t get multiple “lives” in real life, like you would in a video game. 2 – social network. Militias of yesteryear brought people together, they trained together, ate together. If there were a loose cannon, a person exhibiting homicidal tendencies, their fellow militiamen would be able to observe it and likely intervene before something happens. So how do we restore those things in a modern context?

This is my proposal.

We need to re-write our state firearm licensing and permitting laws.

They should mirror how we get licenses to drive cars. Basic, entry level requires an E level license. If you want to drive a forklift or an 18-wheeler, you have to go for a Class C or B license, just like you would if you wanted to own a semiautomatic rifle. If you want to own one of the semiautomatic rifles with that devastating muzzle velocity, like an ArmaLite 15, you have to go for the Class A firearms license.

This is just an example but a great place to start:

Class C firearm license:

Class C licensees may purchase any single-shot pistol, rifle or shotgun under 2500 feet/second muzzle velocity.

Requirements: current requirements for a state CWP: finger printing, level 1 background check, five day waiting period, gun safety class.

Class B license:

Class B licensees may purchase any semi-automatic pistol or rifle under 2500 f/s muzzle velocity. Class B license also allows for concealed carry.

Requirements: all requirements for Class C must be met. Additionally, one month waiting period, Level 2 background check, psychological screening, no less than 15 hours of documented time at a gun range, rangemaster’s sign off on applicant’s ability to draw from concealment, discharge and reload their firearm, applicant must demonstrate safe storage of the firearm(s).

Class A license:

Class A licensees may purchase semi-automatic rifles over 2500 f/s muzzle velocity.

Requirements: all requirements for Class C and Class B must be met. Additionally, 3 to 6 month waiting period, no less than 30 hours of documented time at a gun range, rangemaster’s sign off on applicant’s ability to handle the weapon, safe storage must be demonstrated.

So how to we get a legislature to move on this licensing process when they dragged their feet and muddled up Amendment 2 (2016)? Easy. Put a temporary ban on the sales of semiautomatic rifles until the new licensing requirements are in place. The heat they will get from the NRA and firearm manufacturers will be so hot that they will implement these licensing requirements on the quick. Then we have what most people want. Sensible requirements for owning and carrying a firearm without criminalizing anyone or banning anything permanently.