Outrage as Florida legislature passes porn bill hours after rejecting gun control
In Tuesday’s session, the Florida House of Representatives voted 36-71 against passing House Bill 219 in a matter of three minutes. The bill would have prohibited the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines and required “certificates of possession” for lawfully-possessed firearms, among other measures.
The bill had not been heard in the House committees since representative Kionne McGhee, [D-Miami] submitted it last October. A January 10 senate bill was likewise ignored.
An hour later, Rep. Ross Spano turned the lawmakers’ attention to more pressing matters: pornography. The bill (HR 157) argued that it was “creating a public health risk” and was “contributing to the hypersexualization of children and teens.”
"Research has found a correlation between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships, unhealthy brain development and cognitive function, and deviant, problematic or dangerous sexual behavior," Spano argued before the House Health & Human Services Committee in January.
His proposal passed by a voice vote.
Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith, a Democrat, angrily pointed out the bill was irrelevant.
“[Spano] was saying porn as a health risk was more important to address here in the Florida Legislature than the epidemic of gun violence," he said, according to The Hill. "I'm not aware there's a base of voters who are losing sleep every night over the epidemic of pornography as a public health crisis."
The motion triggered public outcry over the priorities of Florida lawmakers. Many survivors of the Parkland high school massacre were present in the House gallery and voiced their outrage, calling the vote “heartbreaking."
Guillermo-Smith later tweeted that seventeen people were murdered with an AR-15 assault rifle and that gun violence was the greater threat.
17 pp in Parkland were just murdered w/an AR-15, + the FL House just passed @RossSpano's HR 157 declaring PORN as a public heath risk. No, GUN VIOLENCE is a public health crisis + Spano blocked HB 219 banning assault weapons in his committee for 2 yrs. #GOPpriorities#Sayfie— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 20, 2018
Many media personalities also expressed their horror at the decision.
The Florida House delivers a giant "to hell with you" to the Parkland students by voting down a motion to take up a bill banning AR-15s (which BTW were also the weapon of choice for gangs in Florida when I was in media there). Newsflash: these kids are going to turn 18 & vote.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 20, 2018
On Tuesday, in the Florida House of Representatives, right after voting down a motion to DEBATE a bill on banning assault weapons, the Florida House voted in favor of declaring pornography a public health risk.Last I checked, Porn hasn't killed anyone in Florida EVER!— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 21, 2018
Today the Florida House voted against a bill to outlaw the semiautomatic rifle that killed high school students as Parkland survivors watched from the gallery. But they did vote for a resolution to protect Florida teens from pornography. 🤔#ThrowThemOuthttps://t.co/PKI2cBkYVppic.twitter.com/LsFWOWEVOP— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 21, 2018
"If there is another mass shooting here in Florida, it's going to be their fault. ... They had a chance to stop it and they threw that chance away," says Stoneman Douglas High School student about Florida lawmakers' vote against taking up a bill to ban assault weapons pic.twitter.com/qhBHy44SRG— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 21, 2018
Rubio: "We are monitoring the horrible unfolding situation in Broward County, Florida. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes." Also Rubio received $3,298,000 from NRA in 2016 election Also Rubio voted "nay" on a bill to ban assault weapons #guncontrol— Luisa Haynes (@wokeluisa) February 15, 2018
Smith, 47, vowed to pursue similar legislation during his election campaign in 2016, after 49 people were gunned down by an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) sympathizer at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.