The seemingly ineluctable push to move Florida away from its former Gunshine State identity marches on. No longer content with attacks on Second Amendment rights, Florida’s brightest legislative minds have now set their sights on the First Amendment, too.
The latest assault on an enumerated right is a state senate bill (SB 1310) introduced by Senator Jason Pizzo. If enacted, it would outlaw minors posting photos of firearms to social media sites. Here’s the relevant language:
(1) A minor who posts or publishes a picture of a firearm, a BB gun, an air or a gas-operated gun, or a device displayed to resemble a firearm to a social media page, post, profile, or account that is openly viewable to the public commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable [by up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $1000].
(2)(a) Any parent or guardian of a minor, or other adult responsible for the welfare of a minor, if the minor possesses a firearm in violation of this section, may, if the court finds it appropriate, be required to participate in classes on parent education which are approved by the Department of Juvenile Justice, upon the first conviction of the minor. Upon any subsequent conviction of the minor, the court may, if the court finds it appropriate, require the parent to attend further parent education classes or render community service hours together with the child.
(3) Any firearm that is possessed or used by a minor in violation of this section shall be promptly seized by a law enforcement officer and disposed of ….
As Reason’s Eugene Volokh notes, this is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What’s more…
The statute isn’t limited to displays that constitute true threats of violence (there’s a First Amendment exception for such true threats), or possession of guns by minors in violation of state law. Indeed, it would be a crime for a minor to post a photo of himself lawfully using a gun at a shooting range.
Like the pic at the top. Any of the kids who posts that photo to their Instagram page would be in violation of Senator Pizzo’s law.
And given the bill’s incredibly broad language, this photo could be considered a violation, too:
This would be out:
Oh, and so would this one:
Don’t think this will end here. Like social media background checks, look for similar bills to be introduced in Maryland, New York, Illinois, California, Washington and Oregon soon.