Concealed carry is under legislative attack in Florida as well as Washington. (Dave Workman)
Just as anti-gun Democrats in the Washington legislature are pushing a new “training requirement” bill for concealed pistol license holders, another Democrat in Florida has introduced legislation that would reduce the number of years that state’s concealed firearm license would be valid, and adds a proficiency requirement.
Senate Bill 1122, sponsored by Democrat Sen. Jason W.B. Pizzo of Miami-Dade would trim the years from seven to four that a Florida CFL would be effective, while leaving the fee unchanged. Less is the new more, apparently.
In addition, new language in the measure would require that “Persons who complete an instructional course pursuant…shall demonstrate their proficiency safely handling and discharging a firearm through the completion of (a) course of fire proficiency demonstration with a minimum score of 70 percent.”
The proposed course of fire involves firing multiple shots from specific distances in relays, all done in a matter of seconds. While the course of fire may not seem daunting to a frequent “action pistol” competitor, it might be inherently discriminatory to older citizens, whose reflexes might be slower.
Florida has far in excess of 1 million active CFLs, including many held by non-residents living in other states.
This is not unlike legislation now in the Washington Legislature that, for the first time since concealed carry licenses were offered in the state back in the 1930s, suddenly requires proof of training. The Washington measure is Substitute Senate Bill 5174, and the National Rifle Association has already alerted its members in the state to contact their state senators to oppose the bill.
There are nearly 613,000 active CPLs in Washington state, the second-highest number of carry licenses issued by any western state. Utah is at the top of the heap, possibly also because so many non-state residents have obtained them for concealed carry purposes around the country. Washington has never required training, possibly due to the wording of Article 1, Section 24 of the state constitution, which affirms the “right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state,” a right that shall not be “impaired.”
While proponents of such legislation insist they are merely interested in promoting firearms safety, critics of these new proposed requirements liken them to “literacy tests” used in the Deep South to prevent blacks from voting.
Meanwhile, anti-gun New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has proposed radical fee hikes for hunters and gun owners in the state, according to WKXW News. He wants new excise taxes on firearm and ammunition sales, a hike from $5 to $100 for a “firearms purchaser identification card” and the imposition of a $50 fee for a duplicate ID card, which is currently free. He would hike the “permit to purchase” a firearm from the current $2 to $50 and raise the fee for a background check from $15 to $45. And, he would hike the fee for a black bear permit to $100.
The story quoted Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, who contended that Murphy wants to “tax gun owners into oblivion.”
Taken as a whole, such proposals reinforce the notion among gun owners and rights activists that Democrats consider the Second Amendment to be some sort of government-regulated privilege rather than a right protected by state and federal constitutions.