STAND MORE GROUND?
While most of us have been busy stockpiling for the inevitable zombie apocalypse or civil war expected to arise from the D.C. shutdown charade, it looks like something bipartisan and important quite possibly might be happening in Tallahassee. Seriously.
On Oct. 8, a surprise slouch toward reasonable adulthood occurred when Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, and Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, laid down their proverbial arms and submitted a committee proposal that would – wait for it – positively amend the state’s horrible Stand Your Ground law to include some limits on how far assholes with guns can go. What’s more, the bill passed out of its first committee by a 7-2 vote, and has the support of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the NAACP, among others. Wait, what just happened?
Is this thing on?
The bill addresses some concerns with the militarism of certain neighborhood watch programs – cough, Sanford, cough – by suggesting that there should be new standards when it comes to allowable uses of force. The main question at the moment, the Miami Herald reports, is just who will provide and enforce those standards: state or local law enforcement offices. The bill also provides that innocent bystanders wounded by your wayward bullet can sue your aggressive ass that is attached to your unnecessary weapon.
Surprisingly, not everybody is happy with this cross-the-aisle peacenicking. On the left, the Dream Defenders say that the bill doesn’t go far enough; Stand Your Ground should be totally repealed (agreed!). On the right are the typical threats of Pandora’s boxes and litigious anarchy, mostly, except creepy National Rifle Association bowl-cut Marion Hammer, who is reportedly “lukewarm” about the whole mess.
But the real problem will be, as it always is, with the bro-circus of the House. Gun enthusiast and Senate President’s son Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Ft. Walton Beach, is having none of this anti-gun talk, no sir. When cornered by the activists of the Adams Street Project last week in Tallahassee, Gaetz couldn’t have sounded more dismissive of the legislation.
“I don’t know that there was much in that bill,” he said. “I think it’s very elegant window dressing but in the House we’re gonna actually have the debate that I think the people of Florida want us to have.” (Translation: The Senate is so gay, dude.)
Further pressed on the findings by a governor-appointed task force that spawned the bill, Gaetz again went frat-boy limp-wristed. “Yeah, it was sort of a series of tepid recommendations. I don’t know that there were too many findings.”
He wouldn’t know them if they jumped out and shot him.