By Dave Workman
Just over two weeks before the 27th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) – sponsored by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – convenes in Orlando, the Florida task force examining that state’s Stand Your Ground law has an interesting revelation.
The controversial law, passed seven years ago, has not produced any negative effect on the tourist trade. That had been one of the predictions from the anti-self-defense lobby during debate on the proposal in 2005.
But according to the Tampa Tribune, Bradenton Herald and Tampa Bay Times, a gathering of the Task Force this week also revealed that violent crime in the Sunshine State has decreased during a period when applications for concealed firearms licenses have tripled.
It is also reported by Monique Haughton Worrell, a law professor at the University of Florida, that homicides ruled justifiable under the SYG law have more than doubled.
No doubt this will be part of the discussion when the GRPC convenes Friday, Sept. 28, at the Orlando airport Hyatt Regency. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb is looking forward to the event, which attracts a veritable Who’s Who in the firearms community for a weekend of panel discussions and presentations with hundreds of grassroots gun rights activists.
Last year’s event in Chicago and the 2010 gathering in San Francisco – the political “belly of the beast” to the gun rights community – were both very successful.
But with this week’s disclosures to the Task Force in Florida, the Orlando conference just might add some additional spark as well. No doubt someone on one of the panels will be discussing this information, especially because it belies the gun prohibition lobby’s doom-and-gloom forecasts from seven years ago.
Anti-gunners have resorted over the years to all sorts of fear mongering in their opposition to the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Warning Floridians that their tourism industry would suffer has turned out to be another whopper.
The fact that justifiable homicides have doubled in the past seven years may also be connected to the decrease in violent crime. It’s pretty hard for people inclined to murder someone when their intended victim shoots them. However, Prof. Worrell cautioned against making that assumption. She said more study of the data is necessary.
Washington does not have a specific SYG law, but the concept is upheld in a number of state court rulings dating back many decades.
Florida is one of the top states so far as the number of carry licenses per overall population. Washington is another. It frustrates anti-gunners when they can no longer enlist the support of law enforcement and clergy to act as surrogates, and one newspaper quoted Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley, who said that redefining the statute’s provision about “duty to retreat” would be “incomprehensible.” The Rev. R.B. Holmes, who is vice chair of the task force, said self-defense is “a Christian virtue.”
They, and others like them, have realized that it is not the law-abiding gun owner who typically creates a problem, but criminals – including teen gang bangers – who pose the greatest threat tok public safety.
That in mind, King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, a Republican candidate for attorney general, is working on a solution, which this column will discuss shortly.