Rush Limbaugh raised an interesting question on his show recently. Considering all of the school safety measures, mental health spending and gun restrictions passed by the Florida Legislature in the wake of the Parkland shootings, why are the students still protesting?
It’s a reasonable question. And there is one, overriding answer, and it includes the sweeping changes made by a deep red Florida Legislature over vehement NRA opposition, the minimal Democratic support for even those changes, and the relative indifference of the demonstrators and their handlers to those changes.
First, let’s have a quick look at the laws the Florida Legislature passed just a few weeks after Parkland. They are pretty extensive and far-reaching considering how pro-gun the state has been and how short the timeframe for action was.
⇒ Perhaps the biggest and most controversial change was raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. This makes no sense considering the age to drive a car is 16, join the military and go to war is 18, and so on. Those arguments have been well-made by plenty of commentators. But the reality is that this was a huge concession by a very gun-friendly, GOP supermajority Legislature. But the gun-control crowd didn’t even pause in rhetoric or frenzy.
⇒ The state passed a three-day waiting period to buy most guns. This is onerous and would not have stopped any of the mass shootings. It’s a sop to the protesters at the expense of law-abiding Americans.
⇒ Banning bump stocks passed easily. There’s just not much support for them as they essentially make semi-automatics fully automatic.
⇒ Beyond gun control, legislators included millions of dollars to improve school security and train and arm school employees. The state allotted nearly $100 million to improve school security and $67 million to pay for a new law enforcement program that would allow school districts to voluntarily train and arm employees who do not exclusively teach in the classroom. The “school marshals,” as they are called, must pass 132 hours of law enforcement training, along with a background check and additional “diversity” training.
⇒ The legislation allotted another $200 million or more to patch up weaknesses in the mental health system, which is an obvious need, but that was a chunk of unexpected spending.
⇒ One of the biggest needs at Parkland was for government, including the Broward County Sheriff Department, to do its job. On that point, a small amount of extra funding was passed to investigate law enforcement failures.
⇒ And state law enforcement was given extra power to temporarily remove weapons from people deemed to be at risk, and created a new judicial process to review removing guns and ammunition long term from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
That is a whole lot of movement, money and restricted rights on a whole lot of fronts from a very red Legislature. It seems like a huge success for the Parkland student demonstrators and their national liberal activist handlers.
And yet, it’s almost as if Florida did absolutely nothing. The protests rolled on. The attacks on Republicans are unabated. If anything, the rhetoric is even higher.
And so Limbaugh’s question.
The answer goes directly to the hijacking of the tragedy that took place within literal hours of the killings, when anti-gun, anti-Trump and anti-GOP activists quickly began marshalling their forces to take full advantage of the crisis — following the advice of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who suggested that Democrats should never let a crisis go to waste.
And the hijacking went like this: Give lip service to everything else but guns; Focus on guns with a passion and demonize the NRA and NRA supporters into the bogeyman. Side play: Attack all Republicans along the same lines.
The scandalous collapse of government institutions that led directly to Parkland was quickly shelved. The actual evil murderer was ignored. The policies that enable the attack between the Broward schools and sheriff, were dusted away. All the things that could have actually prevented this — the stated goal of protesters — were ignored with the help of an all-too-willing media in order to put all of the spotlight on guns.
So why not take the wins in the legislation? Even boast about them?
Because those weren’t the goal. The changes made were a piffle. There are a lot of Democrats and activist leftists who despise guns, along with many things traditionally American. Their goal, it seems even more clear, is to eliminate the Second Amendment (as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently wrote to considerable acclamation) or emasculating it to the point of being worthless both as a check on government and personal self defense.
Consider that the sweeping changes pass the Florida Senate with only three Democrats joining 17 Republicans to vote yes. Why? Democrats in both houses opposed all of the rest of the things in the bill that they wanted because it lacked an assault-weapons ban (read: semi-automatic weapons ban) and armed school personnel.
They don’t want guns in the hands of private citizens. But they do want them in the hands of government. (Note the photo with this story includes a banner from with the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice on it, a radical leftist group.)
There’s no other way to read both the hijacking of the shooting, the minimal Democratic support for the major changes the Florida Legislature made and the relative indifference of protesters to those changes.
Their goal is the elimination of virtually all guns in the hands of private Americans.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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