In an election in which one of the candidates is running on the most extreme and far-reaching gun control platform in American history, Floridians ought to be warier than anyone.
It was here in Florida, after all, that modern concealed carry regulations began in 1987. The same lies and misconceptions that Joe Biden’s people are trotting out to support a radical gun control agenda were weaponized to stigmatize this state as we decided to allow ordinary citizens to apply for a permit and exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms for their personal defense.
The national news media did their best to portray us as “pistol-packing” nuts and insinuate that the new law would destroy our tourism industry by scaring off normal people. Our Democratic attorney general at the time predicted “openly armed youth gangs hanging around street corners and gunmen parading through a shopping mall.” And Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro insisted, “This could set us back 100 years to the time of the Wild West.”
The problem for Joe Biden is that the arguments popular around the time of his first run for president 32 years ago have since been conclusively disproved. There was no return to the “Wild West.” Crime did not spike in the 1990s — it plummeted as the number of privately held firearms and concealed carry permits skyrocketed. Florida’s bold and pioneering law did not become an ignominious mark on our reputation driving terrified tourists away, but rather became the blueprint for similar laws in almost every other state in the union.
Undeterred, Biden is using the same basic misunderstandings about public safety to push a plan that would ban most of the most popular rifles in the United States, eventually mandating a ban on all weapons that are not “smart guns” — a fantasy technology that for all intents and purposes does not even exist. Despite Biden’s protests to the contrary, he has aligned himself with politicians who have made no quibbles about their willingness to confiscate firearms they disapprove of from law-abiding citizens.
The Biden plan goes much further than any gun control measure ever before proposed by a serious candidate. In addition to banning millions of popular firearms and all standard-capacity magazines, Biden wants to prohibit Americans from ordering parts or ammunition online or having a gun shipped to a local gun store — effectively putting every online firearms business in the country out of business without the slightest public safety rationale.
Biden’s proposal also uses the pretense of combatting “gun violence” to justify a wide-ranging set of government intrusions on privacy, including creating a “task force” to monitor social media postings for “extremism” and “sexual harassment.”
Biden’s draconian approach to gun control reveals a stunning ignorance about the public safety issues of our time. American cities are in the midst of a murder wave — one that Florida, with its sensible gun laws and responsible pro-Second Amendment leadership, has escaped the worst of.
This wave of violence is not fueled by the Second Amendment, but by the lawlessness and hatred for the police that Biden and other Democrats ignored or even encouraged for the entirety of this summer. To this day, many Democrat-run cities refuse to stop rioters and looters, and they are the ones that have seen the most shocking tragic increases in “ordinary” homicides.
Thirty years ago, politicians could get away with simplistically attributing violent crime to gun ownership to push an anti-Second Amendment agenda. Today, with decades of data that conclusively show virtually no benefit from the gun ban implemented with Biden’s support in 1994, it’s not so easy.
Floridians were once the object of the same slanders underlying these proposals, but just because we ended up being vindicated doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of the threat posed by a hypothetical Biden-Harris administration. Joe Biden has made a point of refusing to rule out expanding or modifying the makeup of the Supreme Court, and rolling back hard-won protections for gun rights is among the top priorities for progressives.
If Biden is willing to politicize the Supreme Court to advance his radical agenda, there’s really no limit to what else he might try.
Rogan O’Handley (@DC_Draino) is a former entertainment lawyer who now posts conservative political commentary and news online. He earned two bachelor degrees, magna cum laude, in political science and criminal justice from Northeastern University. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.