Gun safety bill stalled in Florida legislature

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News) – On the second anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered flags to be flown at half-staff as a sign of respect for the victims.

All week in Tallahassee, lawmakers have walked by photos of Parkland victims. But the display seems to have done little to inspire support for additional gun restrictions.

Following the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting, state lawmakers banned so-called bump stocks and anyone under 21 from owning a gun. They also implemented stronger red flag laws and created a mandatory three-day waiting period for all gun purchases from licensed dealers.

Advocates had high hopes of getting increased background checks this year but the effort is running into some serious opposition.

The main proposal would require background checks at public venues like gun shows. It also strengthens gun storage laws and creates new requirements for private sales.

Sponsor Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) was initially optimistic.

“We need four Republican votes, would be my guess, in the Senate to pass a bill and it would shock me if we don’t have four Republican votes for common-sense gun safety,” Lee said in January.

But the bill stalled after passing its first committee. And as session reached its midpoint, Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) signaled the bill still had many obstacles to overcome.

“It is very clear that it’s an uphill battle. It’s difficult even within the chamber but it’s even more difficult across the way,” Galvano said.

Despite the change in tone, Second Amendment groups like the NRA aren’t letting their guard down.

“Anytime a bill’s sponsor is pessimistic about passage of a massive gun control bill it’s a good thing, but we’re never fooled by rhetoric,” former NRA President Marion Hammer said. “We continue to watch, we continue to work and we continue to fight.”

Even if the bill were to pass the Senate, convincing the House and the governor would likely be a daunting task.

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