Saturday, February 15, 2014

Florida: Stand Your Ground Law Has Had No Impact on Sunshine State Tourism

According to The Tampa Bay Times and The Associated Press, even before jurors even reached a verdict in Florida vs. Michael Dunn, the latter of whom who said he shot and killed a black teenager in Jacksonville in self-defense last year, people took to social media to bash Florida and call again for a boycott of the Sunshine state.

Interestingly, despite an onslaught of negative comments on social media sites urging for a boycott of Florida, the annual visits to Florida topped nearly 94.7 million last year (2013), and despite the sluggish economy, Governor Rick Scott said Friday (February 14) that the the state actually saw a 3.5% increase in visitors from outside of Florida.

Another case that was followed dramatically last year was the jury results in the trial of George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, in yet another "stand your ground" case that favored of gun owners.

As I have said recently, "concealed carry" laws are now in place in all 50 US states, largely because citizens are beginning to refuse to be victims of violent crime.

COMMENT: I truly wish that US citizens did not have to arm themselves, yet given the fact that most criminals understandably strike when police are not present, it does become a matter of self-preservation.

Unfortunately, one category of crime that has mushroomed throughout the US is that of "home invasion," many of which have been prevented and/or neutralized by armed homeowners, many of whom have had children at home during an unlawful entry.

Experts have pointed out that it would take a large and organized international boycott to put a dent in such a large number of Florida tourists. And that's a challenge when 49 of 50 states — all but Florida — had snow on the ground lately.

Tourism in Florida fell off dramatically in the early 1990s, after the high-profile murder of a German tourist in Miami and the slaying of two British tourists by youths at an Interstate 10 rest stop near Monticello. 

Despite the efforts of Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton  suggesting a similar boycott after the Zimmerman verdict, visitors to Florida have increased, not diminished. 

In 2005, just after the "stand your ground" bill was signed into law, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ran ads in European newspapers warning tourists about what they called the "shoot first law" and handed out fliers in Miami suggesting visitors should "not argue unnecessarily with local people," not realizing  that the majority of Floridians are law-abiding.

A spokeswoman for Brady has said that it is now focused on expanding background checks to include online and gun show sales, not realizing, of course, that ATF still requires that all online and gun show sales undergo FBI background checks as they always have. 

Those citizens who successfully pass an FBI background check and who purchase a firearm online from another state, for example, can only acquire a firearm that is shipped to another FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) IF they receive a "proceed" from the FBI.

The same process applies to gun shows. Having purchased and sold firearms online and at gun shows I know this to be a fact.

Additionally, ATF routinely inspects all FFLs regularly to ensure that they are in full compliance with federal regulations.

As I have said so often in the past, "anti-gun activists should concentrate their efforts in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, because it is those two categories of individuals who are responsible for most gun violence."

One can only hope that the US will one day address the problem of keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. At the moment, no action is being done at any level of government.

Inasmuch as criminals will always break the law to gain access to guns, it is for that reason that all 50 states have "concealed carry" laws.