Graham: Gun reform should not be a debate over Second Amendment rights

Gwen Graham, Democratic candidate for Florida’s governor, yesterday held a work day at the USO at the Pensacola International Airport. She and I talked about common sense gun reforms in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. shooting.

Graham doesn’t think the effort for gun reform should become a debate that someone doesn’t believe in Second Amendment rights.

The Marjory Douglas Stoneman shooting on Feb. 14 has pushed elected officials around the state to discuss gun reform. Graham said she reacted to the shooting as a mother and as the wife of a law enforcement officer.

“I don’t want any parent to ever have to put their child on a school bus or let them out at a school and worry is my child going to be safe at school,” she said. “My husband was sworn for the first time at 18 years of age and has served in many different capacities in law enforcement, so I have a broader understanding. “

Graham believes most law-abiding gun owners support common sense gun safety measures such as the comprehensive background checks.

“We need to make sure that anybody who has a gun is mentally fit to have that gun and using it for hunting or self-protection, or in keeping with what I know the majority of gun owners want,” she said. “This cannot become a debate between the Second Amendment and common-sense gun safety because we should be supportive of both.”

Graham does believe that we do need to ban the sale of military style assault weapons.

“I talk about this with my husband all of the time and he, as a law enforcement officer, recognizes that these are weapons of war,” she said. “I do not believe that we take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. I do recognize that there is fear in some gun owners if that’s the direction that some people in elective office wish to go in. My commitment is to be an advocate for common sense gun safety measures and also not let that become a debate that someone does not believe in Second Amendment rights.”


2 thoughts on “Graham: Gun reform should not be a debate over Second Amendment rights

  1. Gun rights advocates willfully ignore the clear text “common defense” in the 2nd Amendment as an end run around of its language. Justice Antonin Scalia in a Supreme Court ruling, said: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…”. It is “…not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

  2. “Graham doesn’t think the effort for gun reform should become a debate that someone doesn’t believe in Second Amendment rights.” There is a very small kernel of perhaps unintended truth in that sentence. The so-called “debate” to include all of the childish name-calling is not much “about” the Second Amendment per se. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled (for now) that there is an individual right to own a firearm, a right that is not unlimited and so subject to all sorts of laws, rules and regulations. The debate is or should be about how federal, state and local governments exercise their authority to regulate the sale, purchase, ownership and use of firearms. Ultimately, such decisions are inherently political and subject to future change as the political winds shift, or shift back. Further, such laws can be in conflict or make no sense at all. For example, overall, if a person cannot purchase a certain type of firearm, why is the person allowed to own it? That makes no sense. As far as I know, nothing now stops Floridians aged 18-20 from owning an assault weapon. They just cannot buy one, in Florida. If a person can legally own a firearm, they should be able to buy it too. At the federal level, it is easier to buy an assault rifle that can accept a 100-round magazine (yes, they exist) to shoot up the woods with your militia buddies than it is to buy a six shot 357 cal. revolver to defend your home. That makes no sense. At the state level, Florida law (Section 790.173) provides, “It is the intent of the Legislature that adult citizens of the state retain their constitutional right to keep and bear firearms for hunting and sporting activities and for defense of self, family, home, and business and as collectibles. Nothing in this act [Chapter 790 Weapons and Firearms, Florida Statutes] shall be construed to reduce or limit any existing right to purchase and own firearms, or to provide authority for any state or local agency to infringe upon the privacy of any family, home, or business except as by lawful warrant.” I assume that the Florida government previously considered a person to be an “adult citizen” when they turned 18. Does Governor Rick Scott’s signature on SB 7026 now mean that you are not an “adult citizen” until you turn 21? What is so sacred about the age 21? What if the Florida Legislature next votes to raise the firearm purchase age limit to 30? Why not require people to be 21 (or 30) before they can drive a car too? Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham here tosses around the term “common-sense” as if it is “common.” It is not. As a rule, we all think that we have common-sense and that the views of those with whom we disagree are nonsensical. That is human nature. What the Florida Legislature should have done but did not do was conduct an immediate follow-on session to think through thoughtfully any new firearm laws and all amendments to existing laws. That was not done. Instead, they underwent some sort of knee-jerk legislative spasm. Had they taken their time, they might have adopted many of the same laws. However, they might have had a more deliberate debate about the wisdom of making defenseless all Floridian “adult citizens” aged 18-20 to include those who have a job, a home, are married and have kids and a dog.

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