I threw this story up in the Green Room during the week, but here’s some video with a few more details about the Florida state legislator proposing that law-abiding citizens seeking to purchase ammunition for their firearms should have to take an anger management program first. I repeat, we’re not even talking about a gun safety program — we’re talking about an anger management program. The mind reels:
Two hours and twenty dollars every ten years may sound like a relatively innocuous imposition on upstanding citizens’ lives (although, don’t forget the significant added costs of the extra bureaucracy and enforcement the law would need to have any teeth), especially if it ostensibly means we can “save even just one life.” There are a billion and one other things in this world we could try and pass laws around that would also “save just one life,” but don’t — it’s far too slippery of a slope that comes with way too many costs and unintended consequences.
Even if the ostensible idea behind the proposal is really just to “get people to be more introspective,” doesn’t it feel an awful lot like a suggestion that gun owners are just more inclined to fits of violent outrage and are probably in need of counseling? And even if a state-run anger management course could get most people to “be more introspective” for a hot second (which I wildly doubt, and sounds mighty unconstitutional anyway), would doing so actually accomplish any kind of effective deterrence on this supposed plague of gun violence? Also wildly doubtful.
It doesn’t look like the proposal is destined to go anywhere, thank goodness, but Florida gun-rights advocates were rightly in an uproar this week.
“When I first saw it, I thought it had to be a joke,” said Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry, a nonprofit group championing the right to bear arms. … “We’ve got a lot of issues that should be the focus of these bill slots with limited filing, but instead we put in something as ridiculous as this,” he said. “I don’t see a planet where this passes. This is an attempt to grab attention – it has to be. And that’s really disappointing.”
Jon Gutmacher, an Orlando attorney and author of “Florida Firearms: Law, Use & Ownership,” told FoxNews.com that the bill would almost certainly be found to be unconstitutional based on prior restraint.
“It has no reasonable relationship to anything,” he said. “There has to be a reasonable basis to believe that a person had a substantial anger problem that could cause public harm. … That’s the kind of bill that doesn’t even get past committee.”