The Five Worst Legislative Ideas Proposed After the Parkland Massacre

Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr
The absolute worst thing you can ask Florida's current cadre of politicians to do is solve a problem. Tallahassee is, by design, filled with barely literate Cro-Magnons who basically just put their name on whatever bill a lobbyist places between them and a free sandwich. Floridians saw the worst of what Tally's deadly cocktail of legalized campaign bribes, festering white supremacy, and stupidity has to offer in February, when furious parents, teachers, and students demanded state and federal lawmakers do something to address the fact that people regularly march into schools and shoot people to death in America.

The results have been less than heartening. Here's a rundown:

1. Tallahassee's harebrained idea to arm teachers.

The Florida Legislature is daringly close to passing a measure that would allow local school districts to appoint certain teachers as security "marshals" and give them guns to help "protect" students in the future. A teacher who showed up with a gun and began shooting at a Georgia school last week did nothing to slow the bill's momentum. Neither did this Quinnipiac poll, which shows the typical Florida resident doesn't want armed teachers. Instead, Floridians overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons:

The poll from Quinnipiac University shows that a full 62 percent of Floridians back a ban on assault weapons; only 33 percent are against the idea.

The rest of the poll reads like the worst fevered nightmares of Marion Hammer, the NRA mega-lobbyist who has turned Florida into a gun-packed hellscape over the past two decades.

The poll shows that 96 percent of voters want universal background checks for all gun sales. Ninety-six percent! You couldn't get 96 percent of Floridians to agree that the Atlantic Ocean is real.

The survey goes on: 87 percent want a waiting period on all gun sales; 62 percent want a ban on high-capacity magazines; 78 percent want all gun sales to have a 21-year-old age limit; 89 percent want judges to have the ability to take guns away from people whom police and family members say are violent; and 92 percent want to ban gun ownership for anyone with restraining orders for domestic violence or stalking.

Floridians want gun control. What they do not want, by a 56-40 margin, is armed teachers in their schools, Quinnipiac found.
2. Marco Rubio's bait-and-switch.

Go back and watch the CNN town hall on the Parkland massacre — you know, the one where Marco Rubio was repeatedly owned so hard that he could barely stutter out his canned lines — and you'll see the survivors and victims' families keep making three demands: Reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines, and stop taking money from the Nation Rifle Association.

Today on the Senate floor, Rubio announced his post-Parkland safety plan, and, yeah, he's not gonna do any of those things.

Instead, he backed a number of more modest reforms including beefing up security and training at schools, creating a "gun violence restraining order" to allow cops to take weapons from known threats, and requiring schools to report dangerous kids to police. Rubio said those changes might have stopped Nikolas Cruz from murdering 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

3. Bill Nelson's "No Fly, No Buy" proposal.

Sure, it sounds nice on paper to pass a bill preventing suspected terrorists from buying guns. But in reality, so-called No Fly, No Buy bills rely on extremely dubious and often racist information. The bills prevent people on the Transportation Security Administration's No Fly List from buying guns, but that list is mostly a random mishmash of vaguely suspected terrorists. A review from the Intercept in 2014 found that nearly half the people on the list had "no terrorist affiliation." Civil rights groups argue the list should be abolished.

Plus, the bill would have done nothing to stop Nikolas Cruz. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson supports it anyway.

4. Rick Scott's plan to turn schools into bullet-proof panopticons.

Quick poll: What does a big building made of bulletproof, inch-thick glass and heavy steel doors and filled with armed guards and metal detectors sound like to you? A prison? No, you fool — it's clearly an elementary school. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has proposed beefing up school "security" by making walls, windows, and doors bulletproof so buildings can be easily locked down in the event of a shooter. Does he know the rest of the developed world doesn't have to do this?

5. Doing nothing.

Normal government!
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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