Gov Rick Scott Signs Gun Control Bill into Law

In early March, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the most aggressive and sweeping gun legislation that the state has seen in years. Following on the heels of the Parkland school shooting, these new laws have broken with the state’s long tradition of lax gun restrictions. Commonly referred to as the “Gunshine State”, Florida has been a longtime champion for gun rights, easy to obtain permits for concealed weapons, and “Stand your Ground” laws that protect citizen’s right to use deadly force.

What is truly surprising is the amount of time it took Florida to pass this new legislation. After the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, lawmakers failed to pass any gun restrictions or legislation. However, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, it took less than a month for change to happen.

Changes to Florida Gun Laws

There are many state officials who criticized the new bill, arguing that it fails to address assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and background checks. What the legislation does address is the role of school employees in tragedies like the Parkland shooting. It provides funding to arm school officers and enacts a “guardian program” that would allow certain teachers to be armed. Teachers with military or law enforcement experience can be armed, so long as they have the approval of both the local sheriff and the school district. The program is completely voluntary, and teachers who want to participate must first complete 144 hours of firearm training. The new laws also expands mental health resources for Florida students, providing school districts with state funding so that students can receive adequate mental health care and treatment.

The legislation also includes a number of laws regarding firearm purchases and sales. The minimum age to purchase a firearm was raised from 18 to 21. A three-day waiting period will be imposed for most firearm purchases, and bump stocks will be illegal to sell or possess. Bump stocks can be added to semi-automatic weapons to make them fire as quickly as automatic weapons. Additionally, the legislation allows courts to temporarily bar someone from buying or possessing a gun if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others. Courts can also ban people from owning or possessing firearms if they are deemed mentally unfit.

Gov. Scott had previously garnered an A plus rating from the National Rifle Association, historically opposing gun restrictions and stricter background checks in favor of strengthening gun rights. However, only a matter of hours after Scott signed the bill into law, the NRA filed a lawsuit, arguing that the new laws violate Second Amendment rights. The organization stated that the age-based ban violates the rights of 18 to 20-year old citizens who want to own a gun.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. For Firearm Representation

If you or someone you know has been charged with crime related to firearms, call a skilled Tampa firearms attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A to start defending your rights. Call 813-444-3912 for your free consultation.

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Here's what's in the Florida gun bill

Florida Gun Bill: What’s in It, and What Isn’t

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