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Monday, March 12, 2018

Operation Blazing Sword's Position Regarding SB 7026


Operation Blazing Sword wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Florida bill SB 7026, aka the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, is terrible.

Queer people under 21 are denied their Constitutional right to buy a firearm for self-defense. The ages of 18 to 21 is a critical period where young people are discovering their sexuality but are away from home — or perhaps even kicked out of their home due to their sexuality — and thus are in special danger. Federal law already prohibits them from purchasing a handgun, and now they cannot even buy a rifle or shotgun for home defense.

The mandatory three-day waiting period now forces all innocent people 21 years or older to wait before they can obtain the tools to defend themselves from stalkers, rapists, violent exes or family members, and other perpetrators of hate crime, while those who seek to harm these innocents have only a restraining order — a mere piece of paper — to stop them.

While we applaud the notion of armed school guardian, the requirements are so onerous that they are effectively a barrier against qualification. What's more, the requirements of 132 hours of training are far in excess of what is required for police academy graduates, who carry firearms full-time in the line duty and yet have had a median instruction time of only 60 hours*.

In short, this bill puts young queer adults and women of all ages at risk, and demands more instruction of school guardians than it does of actual police.

While Operation Blazing Sword was started as educational outreach to the queer community, we emphasize that our organization and our volunteer instructors do not discriminate and will teach anyone who wants to learn the basics of firearm safety and operation. Therefore, if any teacher in Florida wants to learn how to shoot and acquire their Concealed Weapon Permit, our instructors will be happy to teach them.

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