HANDS AND ARMS: A Comparative study in government regulation
I have been a licensed massage therapist in the state of Florida for over 20 years I have a license to use my hands. I use my hands to help people. It took me 6 months of full time school to get my license to use my hands. I went to school for 500 hours ($3800), took and passed a state licensing exam($200) and every two years I must re-certify that I am still capable of using my hands correctly by taking classes approved of by the State Board of Massage (Average $600 for 24 credits) and paying my bi-annual licensing fee of $105. Additionally, I am required to carry professional liability insurance ($140 year) in case I hurt somebody with my hands, and appropriate business licensing to pay taxes on the use of my own hands to earn a living.($30/year) . Over the course of 20 years I have paid roughly $15,000, to have a license to use my hands in the state of Florida.
Before I was able to enroll and be accepted in massage school, I had to undergo a criminal background check with fingerprints. People who use their hands for bad things are NOT allowed to get a massage license. Additionally, there are rules and regulations about having a license to use your hands. If you have a license to use your hands, you have to keep a current address on file with Tallahassee. Failure to give a current and accurate address results in a fine. Failure to pay any of the associated fees or participate in correctly following the regulatory guidelines regarding the safe use of my hands will result in the revocation of my rights to use my hands immediately, accompanied by a fine, lawsuit, and/or imprisonment depending on the level of offense. The folks in Tallahassee know where I live and they know where my hands are. Everybody can be safer. They have created A LIST, A RECORD AND A REGISTRY OF LEGALLY OWNED AND LICENSED HANDS BY A LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. It is available to the public via a public website, and all licenses must be displayed prominently at the place of employment.
In July of 2014, ALL Florida state massage therapists (LMTs: Licensed Massage Therapists) received notice from the State Regulatory Dept that we had to pay for and submit to a new Federal Criminal Background check ($80-$120) with a photo and electronic finger printing by January 2015, or else we would lose our license to use our hands. The legislation which allowed for this was easily passed into law. In this six month time period, therapist licenses, address histories and backgrounds were reviewed for ANY indiscretions, misdemeanors, felonies, etc. A couple of therapists I knew had resolved a DUI (misdemeanor) 5 or 8 years prior, yet still received a citation from Tallahassee for "failure to report" this criminal activity, and the threat of possible revocation of the license to use hands. They were told that their "cases were in review". I love people. I love what I do to help them. I would never want to hurt anybody accidentally or on purpose with my hands. That is why I comply with what is often a cumbersome process of registering my hands, certifying my hands, insuring my hands and making sure that Tallahassee knows where my hands are and what I am doing with them. There are about 28,500 licensed massage therapists in Florida. That means 57,000 hands. Exactly. HOW MANY ARMS ARE IN FLORIDA?
In the state of Florida, a rifle/shotgun/assault weapon may be purchased legally the same day by any US citizen 18 years and over with NO fingerprinting or special permit needed. A basic demographic background check is done. No continuing education classes on how to operate the arm, just point and shoot. To purchase a hand gun legally, one must be at least 21, a US citizen, and also requires no registry, fingerprints or background check beyond simple demographic information. There is a 3 day waiting period required to complete the purchase. There are no limits to the number of weapons one may buy per background check, no classes or instruction, no annual certifications, no special insurance, and NO REGISTRY. Those who wish to have a concealed weapons permit may do so with no further background check than that provided through the simple purchase. Florida is considered accommodating to guns by national standards, agreeably honoring any state which offers reciprocity to Florida's gun laws. There is NO reciprocity agreement between ANY states regarding massage licensing. It is a felony under Florida law to create, maintain or publish any LIST, RECORD OR REGISTRY OF LEGALLY OWNED FIREARMS BY LAW ABIDING CITIZENS. The Castle Doctrine In Florida protects citizens who use their unregistered, legal arms to defend their home, possibly killing a neighbor by mistake. The state of Florida fines and removes the license of legally registered massage therapists who use their REGISTERED hands in their own home for business purposes. The charge is a zoning violation and an unspoken implication of illicit sexual activity.
The time and money spent to protect the public from massage therapists who may hurt somebody or engage in illicit sex trade seems to be zealously pursued by the bastions of regulation in Tallahassee, who quickly pass legislation to target potentially dangerous registered hand owners. After all, they must be responding to some anguished plea from their base to stop the unnecessary deaths by massage, the love and healing given to ALL people. Imagine.
I address ALL State and Federal Government officials, elected to protect us: Why is it so hard to apply the same measure of care in qualifying those who wish to bear arms and hold a gun in their hand?