Pop quiz: True or false:1 Florida’s students are safe – from every conceivable weapon – because the recently enacted Safety Act 2 prevents all violence: indeed, all laws are now followed by, and thus will stop, persons who are mentally ill; as well as persons who commit criminal acts, particularly Islamic jihad.
Not so fast. There are a lot of “ifs” to the Safety Act’s Guardian Program:3 “if the sheriff so chooses,” and if the school board approves, to appoint as “a School Guardian,” an individual who has a hyphenated job description – a teacher-administrator, (not just a teacher) – and jumps through more hoops of training than a unicorn at a circus operated by PETA.
Meanwhile, in Florida’s fantasy land, bureaucrats and taxpayers are willing to pony-up hundreds of thousands of dollars for armed police officers – School Resource Officers or Marshals – in every school. Of course not.
Don’t worry, here is our fail-safe: prevent the sale or transfer of any firearm to a person, age 18-21. That age group is responsible for all criminal acts throughout human history. Innocent is every person, age 17 and younger; as well as age 22 and older.
For the sake of our children, ignore the Second Amendment’s phrase, “…shall not be infringed.”
The above is ridiculous. Criminal acts, particularly Islamic jihad, have been committed by persons age 22 and older.
Is Florida’s Safety Act unconstitutional?
“The Second Amendment’s guarantee of ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms’ secures to law-abiding, responsible, adult citizens the fundamental constitutional right to purchase and acquire firearms for the purpose of self-defense in the home. U.S. Const. amend. II.” [C-24]
“The Second Amendment right applies against the State of Florida under U.S. Const. amend. XIV.” [C-25]
“At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights. At 18, citizens are eligible to serve in the military–to fight and die by arms for the country.” [C-3] 6
“Florida law independently limits access to firearms for individuals who are considered unsafe, mentally unstable, or otherwise incapable of safely operating a firearm.” [C-15] 7
“Independent provisions of federal law also already significantly constrain the right of adult citizens … [A] federally licensed firearm dealer may not sell to any individual under the age of 21 any handgun–the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon’ which is ‘the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home.’” [C-16] 8
“Florida’s new ban9 broadens these preexisting limits, by (1) extending the ban to rifles and shotguns, in addition to handguns, and (2) prohibiting these law-abiding, adult citizens from purchasing these firearms from any source, not just federally licensed dealers.” [C-16]
“But for [… the] ban, [NRA members within this class, 18-21, would otherwise be lawfully eligible to] purchase handguns, rifles, or shotguns for lawful purposes … But for [… the] ban, some of these members would purchase handguns from a lawful source other than a federally licensed firearm dealer, such as a private seller or a family member.” [C-21]
“This ban particularly infringes upon, and imposes an impermissible burden upon, the Second Amendment rights of those NRA members described above who are female. Females between the ages of 18 and 21 pose a relatively slight risk of perpetrating a school shooting such as the one that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, or for that matter, a violent crime of any kind.” 10 [C-32]
Imagine you are between ages 18-21 today.
Consider these hypotheticals, which may concern a person of any age:
Are you a student in college? “Florida expressly prohibits the carrying of firearms on college campuses (including those by concealed weapons permit holders,” according to Armed Campuses,11 whose website notes a “Parking Lot Exception – In 2014, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals declared that universities could not prevent students (with concealed carry permits) from storing firearms in their cars.” Further restrictions can be imposed by trustees of a college 12 and university.13
Firearms likely are prohibited at venues of entertainment or sports.
Are firearms prohibited by your employer? If the business rents a location, does the lease prohibit firearms?
Is there a school or daycare affiliated with your church or synagogue? Does the school’s choir or other group have presentations in the sanctuary during worship services? This is a grey area of law, and a concern for the holder of a permit for a concealed weapon.
Terrorists in the gun-free school
“There is another reason to arm all teachers in our schools: the professional killers, the terrorists,” according to Vern Blanchette, author of Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers.14 “You know the lot of them. They are purpose driven and they hate any society that is not the way they want it to be.”15
The terrorists could be “just like the ones that flew the planes into the World Trade Center buildings … The lives of our children mean nothing to them, and they will commit the most heinous crimes against our children for their own twisted reasons. Remember, too, that these are suicide attacks. They do not expect to survive, so once they are in control of your children and the school staff, the ending can not be good. You will not even be given the satisfaction of seeing the terrorists tried in court and executed.” 16
The Beslan massacre
Pamela Geller marked the anniversary (6 September 2013): Raping for Allah: Terrible Anniversary of the 2004 Jihad attack in Beslan.
“The Beslan school siege by jihadis started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, with over 1,100 people (mostly children) taken as hostages, and ended with the murder of at least 385 people.
Deaths: 385+ (334 hostages, 10 other civilians, 10+ security personnel, 31 terrorists)
Russia marked a grim, terrible anniversary in Beslan. On the first day of school, Muslim terrorists stormed a school, took everyone hostage and eventually committed one of the most grotesque and unspeakable crimes (even for jihad) in recent history.
Over 30 jihads seized the school early in the morning, when the children gathered in the yard to mark the start of the school year. The perpetrators forced the schoolchildren and their families, a total of more than a thousand people, into the school gym. The victims were held hostages there for three days, without food or water. Overall, the attack claimed lives of 334 people, including 318 hostages, 186 of whom were children.”
A Beslan-style terror attack could happen in the United States
‘It is possible that [an American] school may be targeted by one of these groups,” Vern Blanchette reminds us: “[S]ome 50 terror plots of various kinds have been foiled since 9/11.” 17 He cited The Heritage Foundation (2012). Updated to 97 terror plots: The Heritage Foundation (2017).
Yet, firearms are prohibited via contracts often between teachers’ unions and school boards.
Bloomberg-backed, left-wing groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety (a coordinated effort between Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America) seek to prohibit armed school personnel: In WFTV’s report, at a meeting (04-17-18) of the School Board of Brevard County, Florida, the protestors were against the Sheriff Trained Onsite Marshal Program (STOMP). These ladies mean well, but their position – keeping gun-free schools – effectively communicates to terrorists that our children remain targets.
Yet the Brevard County Sheriff, Wayne Ivey, encourages a citizen to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon: “We’re in a different time now. We are in a time where you have to be prepared to [be] the first line of defense,” Sheriff Ivey said during an interview with WFTV (06-09-17). “We can’t afford to sit back and wait for the next act of terrorism.” See Sheriff Ivey’s Four As of Survival.
In his book, Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers, Vern Blanchette offers these sobering alternatives:18
“A. Students cowering in front of a murderer while being shot to death one by one, those not dead lying where they fell, their life-blood flowing out of torn tissue, splintered bones, and damaged organs, their trembling voices calling for their mothers with terrified, gasping breaths, confused and afraid, and medical help can’t reach them.”
“B. Students protected by their teachers, armed and trained professionals, who are able to take control away from the perpetrator within seconds, stopping the killing and then speeding medical help to those the killer hurt.”
“If you prefer the second scenario,” then Blanchette offers a solution: “[Y]ou owe it to your children, and the children of others, to get behind this national effort to arm our American educators and school staff. The bottom line is that all of our schools will be armed someday. It is only a matter of time and how much killing American citizens can tolerate before they say, ‘Enough is enough!’”
Meanwhile, the Americans may have all of the watches, but Islamic jihadis have all of the time.
Gerald Lostutter is a Florida licensed attorney, college professor, journalist. His comedy can be heard on Central Florida Radio. Scroll down to WDBO-AM 580, and WMEL-AM 920. Author is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult a licensed attorney for advice.
1 To those who answered yes: For sale in Florida: Retirement homes in exclusive “Sinkhole Hills.”
2 “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” (Ch. 2018-3; SB 7026).
3 Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program in Safety Act, Section 5, F.S. 30.15(1)(k).
4 National Rifle Association of America, Inc. v. Pam Bondi, in her Official Capacity as Attorney Geeral of Florida; and Rick Swearingen, in his Official Capacity as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Case: 4:18-cv-00137-MW-CAS. It was filed March 9, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. This public record is online via Pacer, which will require the User’s account, and possible costs.
5 The “NRA promotes the safe and responsible purchase, possession, and use of firearms by law-abiding adults for lawful purposes, such as self-defense, target practice, marksmanship competition, and hunting. The NRA is the leading provider of firearms marksmanship and safety training for civilians and law-enforcement officers.” [C-8]
6 “Indeed, male citizens in this age-group are designated members of the milita by federal statute, 10 U.S.C. § 246(a), and may be conscripted to bear arms on behalf of their country, 50 U.S.C. § 3803(a).” [C-3]
7 “For instance, a firearm generally may not be purchased or possessed, under Florida law, by (1) any individual who has ever been convicted of a felony, id.§ 790.023(1)(a); (2) anyone who is subject to an injunction against committing acts of domestic violence, id.§ 790.233; (3) minors under the age of 18, id.§ 790.22(3); or (4)individuals who have been adjudicated mentally defective or are committed to a mental institution, id.§ 790.065(2)(a)(4).” [C-15]
8 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1); Quoting, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 629 (2008).
9 “Senate Bill 7026, among other provisions, amends Fla. Stat. § 790.065 to add a new Subsection (13), which provides as follows: ‘A person younger than 21 years of age may not purchase a firearm. The sale or transfer of a firearm to a person younger than 21 years of age may not be made or facilitated by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer … The prohibitions of this subsection do not apply to the purchase of a rifle or shotgun by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, … or a servicemember.” [C-13]
10 “For example, in 2015, women in this age group accounted for only 1.8% of arrests for violent crime, while males in the same age bracket accounted for 8.7% of such arrests–and males between the ages of 21 and 24, who may lawfully purchase firearms under current law, accounted for 9.2%. See Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States: 2015 tbls. 39 and 40, available at https://goo.gl/8pVWnb; see also Bureau of Justice Statistics, Women Offenders at 2, 13 (2009)(female offenders responsible for only 14% of violent crimes, and only 10% of female offenders aged 18-20), available at https://goo.gl/3qAJXu.” [C-32]
11 Fla. Stat. § 790.06(12)9. Armed Campus’ disclaimer: “Policies are subject to change at any time, both during and between school years. In addition, individual school policies commonly include more details than can be succinctly captured by ArmedCampuses,org. Each school should be consulted for its most accurate, up-to-date policy.”
12 Fla. Stat. § 1001.64(5).
13 Fla. Stat. § 1001.706(7)(b).
14 Vern Blanchette, Safe Schools Now: Arming America’s Teachers (Dog Ear Publishing; 2013).
15 Safe Schools Now, p. 37.
16 Safe Schools Now, p. 52.
17 Safe Schools Now, p. 37, footnote 22.
18 Safe Schools Now, p. 116-17.
Article posted with permission from Pamela Geller. Article by Gerald Lostutter.