This July 26, 2012 file photo shows an AR-15 style rifle.
Photo by Alex Brandon/AP

Florida GOP rejects gun measures, declares porn a health hazard

It appears the Republican majority in Florida’s state legislature has a rather macabre sense of humor.

Just a week after a gunman killed 17 people in a massacre at a South Florida high school, the GOP-led state House had an opportunity to debate a ban on assault weapons; As the Miami Herald reported, the right had reason to be pleased with the outcome.

The bill (HB 219), which would ban the sale and possession of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines like the kind used by Nikolas Cruz, has been mired in a House subcommittee for months and has not been heard.

Amid rising tensions at the Capitol, Democrats used a highly unusual procedure to try to move the proposal directly to the House floor for a debate and vote.

Republicans voted it down, 71-36. Several survivors of the high school massacre, watching from the visitors’ gallery, were overcome with emotion, and the action set off a firestorm of controversy on social media.

The outcome was not unexpected, but that was little solace to those who hoped last week’s bloodshed might help Republican policymakers to reconsider their assumptions about gun restrictions.

But to fully appreciate the absurdity of the circumstances, consider the fact that while Florida’s state House wasn’t willing to tackle efforts to prevent gun deaths, it was willing to debate the public health risks associated with porn. The Tampa Bay Times  reported:

The Florida Legislature is declaring pornography as a health risk. The state’s House of Representatives approved the resolution by a voice vote on Tuesday. The resolution states a need for education, research and policy changes to protect Floridians, especially teenagers, from pornography.

Republican Rep. Ross Spano says there is research that finds a connection between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, forming and maintaining intimate relationships and deviant sexual behavior. Spano is also a candidate for attorney general.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) sponsored the assault-weapons measure and highlighted the depravity of yesterday’s developments.

“Has anyone had to bury their child because of pornography?” Smith asked reporters.

That’s hardly an unreasonable question.

Florida and Gun Policy

Florida GOP rejects gun measures, declares porn a health hazard