Jason Pizzo

Jason Pizzo

State Sen. Jason Pizzo introduced Senate Bill 1310: Minors Posting Guns on Social Media Minors on Feb. 22. Here is what the bill says in its entirety:

“Prohibiting the posting or publishing of a picture of a firearm, BB gun, air or gas-operated gun, or device displayed to resemble a firearm to social media by a minor; prohibiting storing a firearm in such a way that a minor obtains access to it without permission and posts a picture of it on social media; authorizing warrantless arrest when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a minor has violated a specified provision, etc."

It is said that hurt people, hurt people and the bill that Tangela Sears and Pizzo put forth only shows that people with their type of thinking are very dangerous. When this bill was put forth, neither of them could have been in their right mind of thinking. If that bill would have been voted into law, it would have been another deceptive tool in the arsenal of misdemeanor crimes that are used to charge so many Black kids as adults. It would have put young Black males behind the eight-ball so badly, it basically would take a lifetime for them to catch up. The worst part? They would have never seen it coming.

Anyone with common sense who reads the language of the bill can see that this bill was detrimental to the future of young Black men. It may also have put parents at risk of exposure to the system in the same, seemingly, non-threatening manner that juveniles are exposed to already. By way of a system of gradually accumulating points against juveniles for minor crimes, those points often climax, suddenly, leading to an unexpected and life-changing charge as an adult. And what that teaches our community in this case is that any exposure to the criminal justice system could potentially be used to establish your unworthiness as a person – or as a parent – when least expected.

The long term impacts of this bill could have resulted in the criminalization of both the parent and/or their sons because of actions of which that the parent may or may not have been aware. What many of us are forgetting is that we were once young and did stupid things in our teenage years – without our parents' consent. Why should a law-abiding, hard-working single mother and their child be exposed to the system because the child posted an ill-advised photo on social media?

I was told this bill was co-authored by the Florida Mothers of Murdered Children organization. In no way am I attacking Sears or any of the mothers who have lost their sons. I know how it feels to bury a child and Tangela attended my daughter's funeral. But they’re forgetting that they may have other sons, nephews, cousins and god-children who this bill could have affected in the future. For instance, a picture of Trayvon Martin holding a gun was used by George Zimmerman’s defense team and put Trayvon on trial for being killed for going to the store to get an Arizona Ice Tea and a bag of Skittles.

It is well known that Black parents don't give their children permission to pose with guns. But for parents who are not Black, they can take their minor children hunting, posing and posting with guns. They can post pictures of them teaching their children while teaching them how to use guns.

To be fair, the bill was withdrawn from further consideration on April 10, I strongly believe, for the reasons stated in the previous sentences. Jason Pizzo, a freshman state senator (and former prosecutor himself) of a predominantly Black district just showed the community that he plans to legislate with a prosecutor's mentality. Now that is scary. This ill-advised bill shows that this type of thinking in minority communities is downright dangerous.

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