FL: Legislative Session Update

We’re over the half-way mark for Florida’s 60-day legislative session. Here’s what’s happened so far.

The Florida Republican supermajority has shown what they truly think of gun owners in the “Gunshine State.”

And it’s clear that they think the protection and restoration of your Second Amendment rights don’t matter.

Throughout 2023, Gun Owners of America worked with Rep. Mike Beltran to draft HB 1619, a solid open carry and university campus carry bill.

And what did the Republican House Speaker do within the first week of session? He stood on the steps of our capitol and proudly crowed that he was pro-gun, and then said his Republican colleagues “didn’t have an appetite” to debate and vote on HB 1619.

Has that stopped GOA from fighting the good fight?

Heck no! GOA took to the public airwaves and the newspapers to call out the Republicans and their failures to uphold their promises to voters.

In USA Today, GOA stated the following:

“Republican lawmakers constantly campaign that they’re pro-gun and the only bulwark to stop Democrats from eviscerating Floridians’ gun rights. But the truth is, the actions of Florida’s top Republicans is that they don’t care about Second Amendment rights,” GOA’s FL Director Luis Valdes said.

And on 97.3 WSKY, GOA has been a guest on the Bob Rose Show and has discussed how Republicans are anti-gun in their collective actions.

GOA isn’t pulling its punches either.

Where is Governor Ron DeSantis on this issue? Last year, GOA got him on record to say he “absolutely” supports open carry. Yet he has been silent on the issue. We’ve called him out on that silence too.

The Florida Phoenix even recently reported on how GOA called out Republicans, including the Governor, for being lackluster on the Second Amendment:

“You have a Republican House Speaker state that he and his Republican colleagues don’t have an ‘appetite’ to debate and vote on open carry. You have a Republican Senate President state that repealing the under-21 purchase ban is a ‘non-starter’ Yet both have the nerve to campaign that they’re pro-gun,” says Luis Valdes, Florida state director of Gun Owners of America (GOA)..

Valdes and other Second Amendment aficionados are also steamed at DeSantis for failing to push for an open carry law which he said he supported a year ago. That measure (HB 1619) was introduced at the beginning of the 2024 session by Hillsborough GOP Rep. Mike Beltran but was immediately dismissed by Republican leadership last month.

“GOA got him on record where he said he ‘absolutely’ supports open carry,” Valdes says. “Well, actions speak louder than words and the governor’s inaction is deafening.”

And with all that happening, GOA still went to the capitol to fight for Floridians’ gun rights.

We fought for SB 1286 (Return of Weapons by Police), HB 1223 (Repeal of Under-21-Purchase Ban), HB 365 (Representation by Counsel in Hearings on Petitions for Risk Protection Orders), and HB 17 (Expiration of the Mandatory Waiting Period for Firearm Purchases).

All four pro-gun bills passed through their committees with GOA’s testimony and hard work.

Luis Valdes (GOA’s FL Director) testifying before the Senate in support of SB 1286’s passage.

GOA also fought against gun control, specifically SB 270 (Further Restrictions of Shooting on One’s Own Private Property) which was heard in the Senate’s Criminal Justice committee.

Jed Carroll (GOA’s FL Deputy Director) testified on why SB 270 is an assault against Floridians’ Second Amendment rights. Sadly, Republican committee chair, Sen. Jeff Martin, sided with Democrats and passed SB 270 out of committee.

The good news is, due to GOA’s hard work, it appears that the next committee will not bring the bill up for debate. But that doesn’t mean GOA will sit on the sidelines. We’re going to keep you up to date on what’s happening with SB 270.

So, with that news. What else is happening in Florida?

GOA will be at Florida’s 2A Freedom Fest on February 24, 2024!

The event will be at 7700 SE 129th Place, Summerfield, FL.

Who from GOA will be attending?

Come check it out and meet your GOA team! Both Erich and Stephen will be having book signings and Maria will of course be educating women about the Second Amendment. Lastly, Luis and Jed will be discussing the current issues that Florida’s gun owners are facing in the legislature.

We hope to see you there.

In Liberty,

Luis Valdes
FL State Director
Gun Owners of America

PS – Please share this alert to all your friends and family. Please, donate to GOA. Every penny helps fight the good fight.

This post was originally published on this site