According to the language of the bill, it would be unlawful to “A) Sell ammunition to another person who does not present certification that he or she has successfully completed an anger-management program consisting of at least 2 hours of online or face-to-face instruction in anger-management techniques. B) Purchase or otherwise obtain ammunition by fraud, false pretense, or false representation.”
Additionally, the anger management certification must be renewed every 10 years.
Failure to follow any of the aforementioned provisions would result in a second-degree misdemeanor charge. Repeat offenders or those who violate the law within 1 year of a prior conviction would be slapped with a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
In defending her controversial proposal, Gibson told Fox News that her bill is designed to increase public safety by getting ammo purchasers and gun owners to be more “introspective” and to get them to question why they are stockpiling ammo.
“This is not about guns,” Gibson said. “This is about ammunition and not only for the safety of the general community, but also for the safety of law enforcement.”
“It’s about getting people to think, really, about how much ammunition they need,” Gibson continued. “It’s a step, I think, in a safer direction. It’s about getting people to think before they buy.”
Naturally, the gun community was less than thrilled with Gibson’s bill.
“When I first saw it, I thought it had to be a joke,” Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry, told Fox News. “They’re trying to say that anyone who owns a gun or shoots a gun or has ammunition for it needs counseling and obviously has some anger problems.”
Attorney Jon Gutmacher, who wrote “Florida Firearms: Law, Use & Ownership” lamented that the bill is not only unconstitutional, it also has no rational basis.
“It’s absurd on its face,” said Gutmacher. “And anyone who proposes that legislation is in my mind unfit for the legislature because it shows a basic problem with their thinking process, aside from their lack of understanding of what the Constitution is all about. That’s the kind of bill that doesn’t even get past committee.”
Analysis and commentary
Well, as bat-shit crazy as this bill is, it’s not the first time we’ve seen something like it. In January, New Jersey Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez introduced a bill that would require gun purchasers to undergo a psychological evaluation before being allowed to buy a gun.
“Too many lives have been senselessly lost,” Jimenez said, in justifying her bill. “This bill adds a layer of protection to the process to help keep guns away from people who have no business carrying them.”
On one hand, it’s difficult to take these bills seriously. They have a very, very slim chance of actually becoming law. Moreover, they are unconstitutional or, at the very least, constitutionally dubious.
However, on the other hand, they are – in this post Sandy Hook environment – being introduced with increasing regularity, which leaves one to fret over the possibility that at some point in time, in the not too distant future, talks of mandatory mental health screenings and anger management classes will be the new norm for gun control advocates.
Today it’s universal background checks; tomorrow it’s universal mental health screenings.
It may seem far-fetched now, but if gun owners don’t dig in and fend off the onslaught of gun control measures that are currently being debated at both the federal and state level, we could find ourselves in a very precarious situation down the road.