Florida Gun Rights Advocates Discuss Their Secret Weapon at Capitol Rally

By: William Patrick FloridaWatchdog.org | Posted: January 11, 2014 3:55 AM
Gun Support Pledge

In Tallahassee Tuesday, members of Florida Citizens' Alliance pledge to protect gun ownership.

Critics might easily dismiss them as a bunch of trigger-happy nut jobs. But the 60 or so Second Amendment advocates who rallied at the Florida Capitol a few days ago would argue there’s nothing nuts about standing up for their constitutional rights.

Federal gun-control efforts, they say, have put them under attack.

“Attacks on the Second Amendment are not about protecting the safety and security of Americans,” said Billy Vaughn, a father of a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan. “It’s about federal control.”

“Federal tax dollars are being used to coerce state leaders into controlling guns and it’s getting worse,” said another speaker.

At least a few state legislators agree, sponsoring bills in support. Others dropped by to speak to the group one day ahead of the first legislative committee meetings of 2014.

“If you take the Bill of Rights seriously,” state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lee, told Watchdog.org, “the First and Second Amendments are rights the federal government cannot infringe on. But that clearly is not the case, not for many years.”

An overstatement? Not according to Bill Wohlsifer, a libertarian candidate for Florida attorney general. Wohlsifer supports same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, amnesty for illegal immigrants and the states’ rights doctrine of nullification -- a state’s refusal to enforce an unconstitutional federal law.

“The idea is not new to Florida,’ said Wohlsifer. “(Nullification) is exactly what former Attorney General Bill McCollum relied on when he challenged Obamacare.”

Combined with a lawsuit from the National Federation of Independent Business, Florida’s Obamacare challenge was taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court and decided in June 2012.

“That was a proper civil challenge, not anarchy,” he said.

Tuesday’s rally was organized by the Florida Citizens’ Alliance, an enthusiastic coalition of residents and representatives of groups from across the state. Their direct aim is to pass legislation called the Second Amendment Preservation Act.

The bill would prohibit any federal law, executive order or bureaucratic regulation from curbing the exercise of Second Amendment rights within Florida. It includes penalties for any state or local employees who assist federal agencies in enforcing gun-control measures that contradict state law.

“Twenty states rejected the Defense of Marriage Act because it was a federal overreach,” said Wohlsifer. “Marijuana is a drug listed within the Federal Controlled Substance Act, but 20 states nullified it.

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to do here in Florida with regard to the Second Amendment,” he said.

When asked if the Preservation Act is necessary in a pro-gun state such as Florida, Caldwell told Watchdog.org the goal is to create binding legislation.

Caldwell is also co-sponsoring a bill calling for a constitutional convention of states to address the expansion of power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Legislatures in Wisconsin and Virginia have done the same.

In the state Senate, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, filed a bill that would create a commission on federalism. If passed, the commission would meet six times a year and evaluate whether any federal laws were in violation of their constitutional authority.

“Four states have constitutional carry laws,” Richard Mack, a retired sheriff and president of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Watchdog.org. “That means 46 states have unconstitutional carry laws.”

The tenacity of groups like the Citizens’ Alliance is credited with defeating President Obama’s push last year to significantly increase gun controls nationwide. That’s an event not lost on those attending the rally.

“The federal government has thoroughly forgotten what their relationship (with Florida) is supposed to be,” Caldwell said.

Contact William Patrick at wpatrick@watchdog.org or follow Florida Watchdog on Twitter at @watchdogfla.

Tags: News, Politics

Comments (8)

Dean Franklin
10:15PM JAN 13TH 2014
Where does an excop shooting a guy over texting fit into those rights. NRA. The way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun, except, cops are supposed to be the good guy
David Leavitt
9:32AM JAN 12TH 2014
I am especially impressed with Bill Wohlsifer's comments in this article. I am very excited to see we have a candidate for Florida Attorney General that I can finally vote for! You have my vote Bill Wohlsifer.
H.E. "Pete" Ashley
5:39PM JAN 11TH 2014
Could someone tell us how much money is in the "conceal carry trust fund" and why. Where does it say in the Second Amendment we should pay for a permit to bear arms?

On Friday, March 7, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that the Free State’s restrictive concealed carry laws violated the Second Amendment. Judge Benson Everett Legg concluded, “A citizen may not be required to offer a good and substantial reason why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
3:20PM JAN 11TH 2014
To begin this artical defaming the group gathered as a "bunch of trigger happy nut jobs" is poor journalism. It has no basis. The writer should be dismissed and asked to submit his further efforts to the editorial board as an independent activist not associated with Shunshine State News.
3:20PM JAN 11TH 2014
To begin this artical defaming the group gathered as a "bunch of trigger happy nut jobs" is poor journalism. It has no basis. The writer should be dismissed and asked to submit his further efforts to the editorial board as an independent activist not associated with Shunshine State News.
10:27AM JAN 11TH 2014
Yes, yes, Rep. Matt Caldwell must be right, the 1st & 2nd amendments must be absolute, subject to NO federal control . . . . . . guess that's why conservative Supreme Court Judge Scalia (in Heller) stated:

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. [United States v.] Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons"

Like nullification nonsense, absolute 2nd amendment rights, not subject to any restrictions, are a rightwing fantasy . . . . absolutely . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
William Wohlsifer
5:53PM JAN 12TH 2014
Frank: Of course the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. We are a nation that respects the rule of law. The discourse should focus on that certain grey area where limitation or reasonable regulation crosses the line into infringement. The right, "shall not be infringed;" the Constitution does not prohibit lawmakers from imposing limits. From time to time the line between limitation and infringement has historically moved in both directions, based on public opinion at the time and court changing court precedent.

As to nullification, when it is truly understood to be an expression of a state, not a veto power, one can see that it is happening all around the country. The most recent waive began with the tolerance for medical marijuana in California in 1996. Likewise, when the several states rejected the federal ban on same sex marriage and refused to follow DOMA, that's an act of nullification, too.
9:56PM JAN 13TH 2014
Nullification, unconstitutional in EVERY Supreme Court case in which it's been an issue over the last 150+years . . . . more imprecise politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . just like the implied truthiness that the federal government banned same sex marriages in the states through DOMA . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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