Florida Sheriff Rallies Against Gun-Nut Proposals From DeSantis’s Corner

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As a legislative session gets underway in Florida during which proposals may be advanced that, among other things, would expand control from state Republicans over the state’s system of public colleges and universities and would let Floridians carry some firearms without a permit, eliminating an avenue of oversight, Orange County Sheriff John Mina is speaking out.

Orange County is where Orlando is situated, an area where some of Florida’s most Democratic voters tend to reside. (As in other states, such communities are often concentrated in and around large cities.) Mina was responding to a proposal evidently backed by a pair of state House Republicans, including a member who has already seen some of his other legislation signed by GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, to bring the age for buying certain long guns, as they’re known, back down to 18. “Another bad idea,” Mina said. “The law requiring you to be 21 to buy a rifle was put in place after the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. Why are we going backward?”

It’s true — the demand to be at least 21 before purchasing the disputed firearms in the state was actually signed into law by Rick Scott, who at the time was the Republican governor of Florida. The move was obviously a break with what’s generally seen from Republicans, and the initiative evidently remains under court dispute, with the state team having cited scientific evidence ostensibly demonstrating the particularly precarious decision-making processes of older teenagers in defending the restrictions. On other policy fronts, the moves under pursuit in the Florida legislature mirror other states. Texas and Georgia have both also implemented opportunities for carrying firearms without a permit — moves sometimes pursued over objections from law enforcement interests.

Elsewhere in the Florida legislature, an expansion of the state’s abortion restrictions could also be pursued. DeSantis obviously isn’t exactly known as a moderate, having — among other things — rejected even the Republican legislature’s original redistricting plans after the last census, forcing a more favorable redo.