Yesterday, June 20, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed additional protections for Floridians when exercising their Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution. Although the bill is far from perfect by libertarian standards, it passed with the pro gun-control Florida Republican legislature. Scott is fighting to retain his governorship this year and will face Libertarian Party of Florida gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie in the November general election.
Wyllie said, “As governor, I will fight for your inalienable right to possess the tools to defend your life, liberty and property. The individual states have power to nullify these unconstitutional acts and decrees. Gov. Scott and the Florida Legislature are either too ignorant, too timid, or too corrupt to carry out their sworn duty to defend our rights. If they fail to uphold their oath of office, then they are complicit in the tyranny. They must all be held accountable. As governor, I promise to do everything in my power to challenge, reverse, and nullify any unconstitutional usurpation by the federal government. The right of Floridians to keep and bear arms shall never be infringed on my watch.”
The new law was inspired by Florida resident Marissa Alexander who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot to her husband, who was not harmed in the incident. The law signed by Scott yesterday would prevent such a conviction to stand in the future. The law strengthens Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law which will now better protect Floridians’ self defense efforts. The intent is to offer people in fear of their lives or serious injury from prosecution and will enable certain threatened individuals to fire off a warning shot so long as no one is harmed as a result of their actions.
The Libertarian Party’s official position on guns in America is, “The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.”
Some in the State of Florida are hard-pressed to understand why the Republican controlled Florida legislature is not in sync with the Republican Party’s own platform on the issue. To be congruent to their official platform, it would seem Republicans should fully respect the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and repeal all the gun-control laws they have put on the books in Florida. Unfortunately for gun rights advocates, they operate at the behest of the gun-control organization, the NRA. Their platform states, “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents.”
We thought we would take a look at the official position on guns by the Democratic Party, so here it is: “We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements–like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole–so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.”