In Florida there are only 60 days per year where you can legislatively resolve an issue. The Texas Legislature only meets every other year. The session is longer in Texas, 140 days each odd-numbered year, but strategy in working on gun issues in states like these is critical given these limited opportunities.
Special Sessions are common in states like these where the business of the people does not always coincide with the legislative calendar. Special Sessions are usually only called for issues where there is significant public outcry, strategic political importance, or a real compelling need for action.
Gun issues brought up during special sessions are usually knee jerk anti-gun reactions to an issue or tragedy where people blame the inanimate object rather than the criminal. That’s how open carry got banned in FL, someone decided to OC in a park and stare-down the kids so that he could, in his words, “test the law”. One misguided man’s test gave fuel to the just defeated anti-gun lobby and resulted in a 1987 special session ban on unlicensed open carry that stands to this day.
In January the Florida Legislature comes in to session early due to redistricting. There are not a lot of gun issues on the agenda during this election year. The biggest issue is a bill that will allow qualified military members and honorably discharged vets under 21 to obtain a concealed weapon / firearm license. Hardly a controversial issue, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.
So, It’s an off-year for gun rights in 2012 legislature. That’s okay though. It took seven years to pass Shall Issue Concealed Carry in Florida. We are patient, we are relentless, the facts are on our side, and we will secure our rights. However, 2012 will be a huge year in the Florida courts, at the local level, and we will still gain some ground in the legislature.
At the beginning of 2011 there were over 300 local jurisdictions who were violating state preemption of firearms regulation. Our goal is that there be 0 violations by the end of 2012. Most jurisdictions have already realized that we intend to bring every possible measure available to bear against violators to ensure compliance with the law and security of the right to bear arms. We already have one lawsuit ongoing and more are pending VERY soon.
If I tried the write about everything that is coming for gun rights in Florida for 2012 this would not be a blog post, it would require an entire book. Hold Fast, Dig In, be ready to get out there and work for your rights. We’ll be calling on you soon.