Florida Senate approves bill to end gun show ‘loophole’

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NAPLES, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 24: Guns stand for sale at a gun show on November 24, 2018 in Naples, Florida. According to recently released data from the U.S. centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides and homicides involving guns have been increasing in America. The report, which faced a large backlash from the gun rights lobby, showed that during the time period between 2015-2016, there were 27,394 homicides involving guns and 44,955 gun suicides in America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sunshine State is one step closer to better monitoring of gun transactions after the Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring documentation of private gun sales.

The bill was approved Monday and had support from both sides of the Republican-led Senate Committee. It requires background checks for private sales in “public places,” including gun shows.

In person-to-person gun sales – which, according to a Senate analysis, makes up around 20 percent of all firearm sales – a background check would not be required. The buyer’s ID, however, would need to be checked and a form would need to be filled out and notarized in front of a witness. Not filling out the forms would result in a second-degree misdemeanor with a punishment of up to 60 days in jail.

If passed, the bill would have local impacts on the Tampa Bay area. One of the state’s largest gun shows is held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Hillsborough County.

Calling the bill “gun control on steroids,” NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer expressed her disapproval. Members of the group Moms Demand Action expressed support of the bill.

“It appears to be an actual attempt to ban private sales through red tape and fear,” Hammer said. “Asking average citizens to create what amounts to a government form and get it notarized is ridiculous.”

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