In the Florida Legislature this spring, the only tweaks being considered for the Stand Your Ground law are attempts to allow those who use that defense in court to have more power, not less.
But the Gunshine State ain't got nothin' on the great state of Georgia. According to the New York Times, lawmakers there want to allow people with a weapons permit to carry loaded guns into bars, as long as they do not consume alcohol. Pending signature by the state's governor, the new legislation would also allow guns in public areas of airports and eliminate criminal charges for permit holders caught with guns at airport security. It authorizes school districts to appoint staff members to carry guns at schools, ostensibly to defend students in case of an attack.
Oh, and it also would allow "felons" — not just your average Joe or Jane who finds him or herself in a life threatening situation — to claim the Stand Your Ground defense — in which someone who “reasonably believes” his life is in danger has no duty to walk away and may instead shoot to kill.
The story goes on to report that 21 (mostly red) states have passed laws expanding the rights of gun owners over the past year, including in some cases allowing guns in churches, college campuses and bars.
Anyone have a sensible response to all of this? As Leonard Pitts from the Miami Herald wrote once about guns: Yes, "duck."
In other Florida news… the messaging for Rick Scott's re-election team hit a snag yesterday. That's when reporters on a conference call with Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera were more interested in his take on the departure from the campaign of Mike Fernandez, Scott's co-finance chair, rather than in the new anti-Charlie Crist ad. Fernandez's decision to leave may have been connected to the two Scott campaign aides who allegedly spoke in mock Spanish accents while in a van going to a Mexican restaurant. Team Scott denied the incident happened, but for good measure later in the day trotted out a reminder of Alex Sink and her inelegant remark about undocumented immigrants a few weeks ago as an example of how the Democrats have sat by and done nothing when their own members insulted Latinos. Even though the incident with Scott didn't happen, allegedly.
That "anti-Sharia law" bill that's been a staple of the past four years in Tallahassee will be discussed this morning in Tallahassee.....and the pro-Uber bill went before its first committee yesterday. That bill would take the power to regulate limousine service away from city and county governments and move it to the state capitol, and its prospects look shaky based on yesterday's hearing.