Blog 6/02/23

Weekly Spotlight 6/2/23 – 6/8/23

California Governor Blunders Attempt to Politicize Florida Shooting

Over Memorial Day weekend, when Americans honor those who gave their lives serving in the Armed Forces and families celebrate the unofficial start of summer, a fight broke out near a beach in Hollywood, FL, and tragically resulted in a number of people being shot and injured.  Witnesses reported seeing “several men” firing handguns, and at least two men were arrested as a result.  It was a senseless crime that cast a dark shadow over the holiday weekend for those impacted by the violence.

Unfortunately, one politician used the shooting to score political points.  Well, he attempted to score political points, but it didn’t work out well for him.  On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted about the Hollywood, FL, shooting by criticizing his counterpart in Florida.

Newsom, an ardent gun control proponent, got called out rather quickly for the multiple problems with his tweet.  The most glaring issue is that the permitless carry bill he referenced does not take effect until two months from now. Tying this shooting to the new law, which expands law-abiding Floridians’ right to defend themselves with a firearm, is nonsensical.  He was rightfully questioned on this matter by Governor DeSantis’ press secretary and many others on the online platform. Newsom’s tweet even got labeled with Twitter’s new ‘Community Notes’ feature, which has frequently corrected falsehoods pushed by politicians from both sides of the aisle in recent weeks. 

The second problem with the Governor’s tweet is that the Florida permitless carry law in no way impacts the federal background check process for purchasing a firearm.  Thus, Governor Newsom is telling a blatant lie.  Furthermore, the police report from Florida states that, of the five handguns recovered at the crime scene, two were reported stolen and one had its serial number removed.  These firearms would still be very illegal to possess even if the Florida permitless carry law had taken effect. 

It’s hard to fathom that the governor of America’s most populous state could tweet something so utterly false.  While it’s encouraging how quickly he was called out for it, Newsom is still moving forward with plans to gut the Second Amendment rights of 40 million Californians.  In fact, right now Newsom is pushing for radical restrictions on concealed carry rights that will make it exceedingly difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.  Par for the course for someone who gets the facts about gun policy so wrong. 

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Louisiana lawmakers took another step Tuesday toward allowing adults to carry hidden handguns without permits or training. Members of the Senate Judiciary B Committee voted 4-1 to advance Republican Oil City state Rep. Danny McCormick’s House Bill 131, though they did amend the measure to raise the age from 18 to 21. Committee Chairman Gary Smith, a Democrat from Norco, began the bill’s hearing by saying, “Let’s get the Wild, Wild West going.” Smith voted in favor of the legislation. “Constitutional carry will restore Second Amendment rights in Louisiana,” McCormick said, though Smith noted the Second Amendment never mentions the right to carry a concealed gun.

The June 1 deadline for a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rule banning pistol braces is looming, and gun rights groups are pressuring House Republican leadership to schedule a vote to block it, giving Democrats that represent pro-gun states a tough choice to make. The new rule would make it a felony to own an unregistered, commonly used plastic stabilizing brace designed for use with pistols. Pistol braces were originally invented in 2012 to aid disabled veterans in shooting independently. President Biden has called the accessory “especially dangerous” after they were used in several mass shootings. 

The University of Southern California (USC) released a new guide for filmmakers that hopes to stigmatize some kinds of gun use in entertainment. “Trigger Warning: Gun Guidelines for Media,” published last week, provides guidance on how TV shows, movies, and even news shows should approach issues such as officer-involved shootings, gun storage, mass shootings, school shootings, and partner violence. USC said it aimed to change the impact that media have on how Americans view guns. However, despite claims the guide is about promoting “responsible gun ownership,” the school’s guide repeated a number of disputed studies and claims commonly used by gun-control groups.

Billings is loosening its restrictions on guns. City Council this week approved changing its rules for carrying firearms in Billings owned and occupied buildings. The city previously prohibited possession of any weapon, firearm or destructive device in its buildings by anyone other than law enforcement officers. But, due to changes in state law, that’s no longer legal. The voter-passed ballot measure, known as Legislative Referendum 130, limited the authority local governments have to make their own regulations around the carrying of concealed guns.