Florida

Florida House advances gun bills undoing parts of Parkland public safety law

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Lawmakers in the Florida House continue to forward two proposals that would undo key provisions of the public safety act passed in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

The two bills were advanced to the House floor Wednesday, exactly one week after the six-year mark of the deadly school shooting.

After the Parkland shooting, Florida lawmakers implemented mandatory three-day waiting periods for the purchase of all firearms and raised the age to purchase long guns like shotguns and rifles from 18 to 21.

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The bill sponsored by State Representative Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) would lower the age to purchase long guns back down to 18.

“You can serve in the military, you can be adjudicated of a crime, you can be convicted of a felony, you can vote, you can sign a contract, but you can’t purchase a firearm for sporting or for safety,” said Payne during the bill’s final committee stop in the House Wednesday.

Another bill sponsored by State Representative Dr. Joel Rudman (R-Navarre) would allow for gun dealers to release a firearm to a buyer as soon as the three-day waiter period expires, even if their background check hasn’t come back yet.

“You are talking about four out of 10,000 transactions that have to be repossessed. So, again, you’re talking an infinitesimally small number,” said Rudman.

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Katie Hathaway with Moms Demand Action argued both bills stand to make the state less safe.

“Repealing these safeguards is a direct slap in the face of gun violence survivors, particularly those families in Parkland and quite frankly every Floridian who deserves the freedom to be safe from gun violence,” said Hathaway.

While the bills are moving in the House, neither has moved in the Senate.

Last week, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) indicated it will likely stay that way, despite the bill lowering the age to purchase a gun landing on the Florida GOP’s legislative priority list.

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“I’m not gonna, because the Republican Party of Florida has that on their platform, take it out of a committee or violate our rules,” said Passidomo last Wednesday.

But Hathaway said she and other gun safety advocates aren’t letting down their guard, knowing as a bill is never truly dead until lawmakers officially close out session.

“We’re continuing to watch these bills and we are gonna continue showing up and making our voices heard opposing them,” said Hathaway.

Horse trading between chambers in the final weeks can sometimes revive bills that had previously appeared dead on arrival.

Assuming lawmakers finalize the state budget on time, they’re slated to close out session in just two and a half weeks on March 8th.

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