Florida House passes gun restrictions, plan to arm certain teachers
Yes, Florida passed some minor gun restrictions, but follow the money and you'll see the slaughter lobby and its allies will actually make millions on new guns in the schools programs Programs that would actually cut into their revenue streams, like the assault weapon ban, were blocked.
A story in USA Today shows where the money is going in this "comprehensive gun safety bill."
How did the NRA-politicians get armed teachers and avoid an assault weapon ban? Money, pulled from taxpayers, used as leverage for other programs. From James Call, Tallahassee Democrat Link
...when leaders responded with nearly a half billion dollars for school hardening and mental health programs, lawmakers were forced to wrestle with the proposal’s accounting – money in exchange for guns in the classroom.
The NRA legislative hypnosis is still working on Democrats. What should have been a serious poison pill--arming teachers--became a taxpayer-funded program. One Representative pointed out that the bill didn't do either of the things the parents and students demanded. Assault weapons were not banned and teachers will be armed. What the what?
Instead of just accepting this is the best that can be done, it is possible to play hardball against the NRA. Here were some options:
Demand a special session to ban assault weapons, taxes on guns and ammo and no taxpayer money for arming teachers training programs.
On Friday the governor signed the bill. One hour later the NRA sued to block the law because of the age limit change.
No AR-15 Ban, No spring Break Money
Remember David Hogg's tweet asking students not to come to Florida for spring break if they didn't get the AR-15 ban? Time to cancel reservations!
Ask Budweiser execs and tourist businesses to make a few calls to legislators and say, "Don't mess with my projected earnings! Give the parents and students what they want!"
Ask the teacher's union to walk out if armed teachers are put in place.
Everyone is excited about the Parkland students because they aren't paying the same game this time, neither should we. There are other venues and methods to use in addition to legislative.
Remind Companies That NRA's Tainted Brand Drags Down Brands
I love economic actions that convince corporations to disengage from the tainted NRA brand. Seek out, develop and support other actions that cut into the revenue streams for the gun makers and their allies. Remember, companies can be counted on to look out for their PR and financial best interests, use that force against the gun lobby and their allies.
Bring The Big Money Payback Pain To Georgia Politicians
When Delta stopped an NRA discount program Georgia politicians punished Delta. Send an email/tweet or note to Delta execs and their institutional shareholders reminding them that Georgia politicians hurt their business and portfolio companies and ask, "Are you going to keep supporting those politicians?"
Now Delta has a perfect response for their board and shareholders for a $38 million dollar shortfall,
"These politicians told us to embrace a toxic-brand and punished us when we didn't. Therefore we will be cutting off money to those politicians. GOP lawmakers who were "business friendly" chose guns over business. We will now choose their opponents over them."
Remember, it's not quid pro quo if you don't give money. If fund managers and rich execs really want to punish these politicians, they can make the dark money dry up too.
You see, when corporation don't want customers to know they still like what politicians are doing, they use dark money and Super PACs. But the people giving that dark money can stop if they are really pissed. They can add a note why. "You hurt my investment and you chose death merchants over live kids. Big mistake. Huge. No love, no money, signed Fund Manager."
Dear Fund Managers for Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Vanguard Group Inc, Blackrock Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co, Primecap Management Co.:
Leave the gun lovers, take the cannoli. It's nothing personal, it's just business.
Push amendments demanding a tax on all guns and ammunition sales statewide
Come ON people, get Chris Rock to do his Tax Bullets bit for the legislators!
Make Arming Teachers a Financially Untenable Position
Why wasn't this program tied to a massive gun and ammo tax? Whatever happened to the idea that new bills should be revenue neutral?
This could have been an unfunded mandate from the state to local communities, instead it became a state-funded program. Also, how much you want to bet that these programs will be subcontracted out to an NRA-approved tactical weapons training firms? There could have been a provisions blocking that from happening. Once again the NRA lobbyists got money for their allies, for their guns everywhere programs from taxpayers.
Show The Massive Insurance Problems
Insurance could have been another poison pill for this amendment. In Kansas the inability to get insurance stopped the armed teacher program. Why weren't the insurance companies rolled out to testify about costs and liabilities? Which insurance carriers are going to cover it? How much are the premiums per year? Who pays for this? If schools can't get insurance, they can't stay open. No insurance, no armed teachers.
The NRA anticipated this, so maybe they did what I saw them do in Tennessee, gave lawmakers and school districts immunity, avoiding liability. My suggestion? Challenge the law, now. Will immunity hold up in court? Probably not, so challenge it right now. Look closer at insurance policies. What don't they cover? Who is liable for gun accidents? No insurance, no program!
How Florida Got The Armed Teachers They Didn't Want: "Free" Taxpayer Money
In an NRP Morning Edition story a Parkland parent talks about how Representative José R. Oliva (R) (93% Rating from the NRA) added an amendment that would provide funds for sheriffs to train armed teachers.
"They are willing to accept it in order to get the rest, especially because they don't think it will ever happen. The bill gives both the sheriff and the school board the power to block it." Rep. José R. Oliva added an amendment that would required sheriffs to develop training programs for teachers who want to carry guns.
Oliva assured them during dinner the night before that the bill would "more or less stay the same"
"They literally left that room and changed everything in the middle of the night. So we feel distrust, confused and terrified. We're entrusting the system to save our children and they're playing games. " Parkland MSD parent Elise Claproot and her daughter Annabelle
So now everyone who opposes this in Florida will need to go to each sheriff's department and tell them to not offer it. Sheriffs can say "We want to offer it and we have the money!" School boards will hear from gun-loving parents who think it's a good thing to do, and they will demand it. Especially after the next mass shooting.
BTW, once a program is in place there are always excuses to keep it in place, even if it fails.
Yes, We Can Beat The Slaughter Lobby
Prior to the activism following the Parkland shooting the idea that "The NRA always wins." had paralyzed and depressed everyone. This new round of student activists have opened up possibilities for people.
The NRA is a sophisticated and experienced foe. It likes to activate its members to overwhelm and control the battle grounds it chooses to fight on. It works on multiple levels: economically, technologically. culturally, and politically--and so should we.
I've talked to a number of people about how to fight them. It's possible. In Nebraska I assisted in blocking the NRA and their allies on a gun preemption bill.
First the NRA tied up the Washington lawmakers, then they went to the states. State politicians are cheap dates. They can expect 20 call an hour from gun lobby supporters for Every. Single. Bill. That level of passionate mobilization against the gun lobby is something that is happening now.
The next move by the NRA in Florida (and other states) will be to pressure the local school boards for more armed police and armed teachers.
Don't assume your local school district will do the right thing or that other parents agree with you about not arming teachers! In Kentucky, they want to arm teachers.
Fortunately my friends at Nebraskans Against Gun Violence are already on top of it, educating their local school boards. They put together a school board document you can use. (PDF version)
School boards and teachers need information and leverage to block crazy guns everywhere policies and attitudes. I can't tell you how many times I've heard guns-everywhere people throwing out misleading and unsupported data and nobody was there to challenge them.
I've seen people gunsplain that "crime rates went down" when more people with guns were everywhere" But crime rates ALSO went down in places where more guns weren't everywhere. And they NEVER talk about the gun "accidents" that come with more guns everywhere.
For the next school board come armed with information, in context, to challenge bumper sticker arguments. (Here's a quick video tutorial of the Gun Violence Archive to find gun accidents in your state, city or school district.)
I'm not a paid strategist fighting the gun lobby. I wish I was. I tried to be, but apparently my pointy ears got in the way of my credentials fighting right-wing media. Vulcan discrimination! However, I encourage people who are working on this to keep pushing hard and think 4th dimensionally - develop actions that work together over time.
As a friend pointed out to me, change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial. We need to keep pushing until we get what we want.
The students say, "Never again." I hear them. Let's make sure everyone does.