Recently, there has been a lot of noise made about a series of articles in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about alleged criminals who have Florida concealed carry permits. The articles list several people, and breathlessly reveal the crimes they allegedly committed, in an attempt to give the impression that South Florida is overrun with convicted mass murderers who can legally carry firearms.
What most of these articles fail to point out is that in most of these cases, there is no felony conviction involved. Some have pleaded guilty or no contest to the charges filed, but according to Florida law, such an outcome to a case does not equal a conviction.
But a loophole in Florida law allows people charged with felonies to obtain licenses to carry guns three years after they complete their sentences so long as a judge "withholds adjudication."An argument could perhaps be made that Florida's justice system needs some work, if so many people who have been arrested for felonies are not being convicted, but that argument has nothing to do with Florida's concealed carry laws. Either prosecuting attorneys are being too generous with plea bargains, judges are being too lenient, in withholding adjudication, or the cases weren't strong enough for a conviction in the first place. Whichever, a person should have to be convicted to lose any of the rights of citizenship.
In a sort of legal no man's land, the defendants plead guilty or no contest. They serve probation, complete community service, obtain counseling, pay fines or fulfill other requirements. When they successfully complete the terms, they have no criminal record.
The break often is given to first- or second-time offenders in instances in which the state's case is weak, and a plea deal appears to be the best option for defendants without the money to mount a strong defense, legal experts said. But it also has aided people accused of violent felonies, sometimes repeatedly.
The civilian disarmament lobbyists are, of course, all over this--as evidenced by this release from the Brady Bunch.
A courageous newspaper in Florida has released the cold, hard facts about states that too easily issue permits to allow people to carry loaded, hidden handguns: Many of those who get permits act recklessly or violently with a gun and still keep their permit. This should be a sobering lesson for public officials who mandate the issuance of these permits, take the discretion out of the hands of the local police and let thugs continue to carry guns.I'm not sure what it is about these articles that makes the newspaper "courageous," but I suppose that among those who believe in abdicating responsibility for one's own protection (despite the numerous court decisions stating that police have no duty to protect any individual citizen), standards of courage are unlikely to be very high.
The Brady Bunch goes on to say that "Shall Issue" systems for concealed carry are a bad idea:
The inability of governments to monitor the behavior of all the people issued concealed carry permits is almost guaranteed. Governments are neither big enough nor efficient enough to catch mistakes - and that is why so-called ‘shall issue’ laws like Florida’s are a bad idea.Seems that they think the solution might be to expand the government--spoken like true statists, who believe a government can never be too big. I hear China has a nice big government--so does North Korea.
I wonder how many of these people truly believe that the "criminals with legally concealed guns" would not carry if they could not get permits. It would seem to take quite a leap of faith to believe that someone who breaks laws against assault, manslaughter, etc., would balk at breaking the laws against carrying a firearm without a permit.
Anyone who is too dangerous to "be permitted" to exercise his Constitutional rights is too dangerous to be loose in a free society.