Summary of Florida’s New Anti-Gun Law
Russ Chastain 03.12.18
Florida–and Republicans–are proving they have no interest in preserving liberty, nor in providing for the public safety. Instead, they have hopped on the bandwagon of gun control (and thus larger government) wholeheartedly. Florida’s congress hurriedly passed a sweeping law which reduces individual gun rights while expanding the powers of a police force which failed so publicly and pathetically to use its existing powers to prevent the Parkland school murders last month.
Under the guise of “public safety,” Florida Republicans have made instant felons of anyone who simply owns a bump stock, while making it a felony for anyone younger than 21 to purchase a firearm.
With the swift passage of this–and the even faster signing by turncoat governor Rock Scott–Florida has joined the ranks of those states which enact illogical laws in reaction to events sensationalized by the media and spurred by emotion rather than facts.
In reading through the text of the lengthy bill, I find the following:
- County sheriffs may, at their discretion, create a school guardian program (named for slain coach Aaron Feis) — which excludes most classroom teachers and has a laundry list of requirements for those who would essentially be armed guards in schools.
- Police may serve an ex parte order upon an individual at any time and may “use such reasonable physical force as is necessary to gain entry to the premises, and any dwellings, buildings, or other structures located on the premises, and take custody of the person,” at which time the officer “may seize and hold a firearm or any ammunition… if the person poses a potential danger to himself or herself or others and has made a credible threat of violence against another person.”
- “A person who has been adjudicated mentally defective or who has been committed to a mental institution, as those terms are defined in s. 790.065(2), may not own a firearm or possess a firearm until relief from the firearm possession and firearm ownership disability is obtained.”
- Minimum age to purchase a firearm is 21 (violation is a felony) — unless of course the buyer is a police or corrections officer.
- Mandatory 3-day waiting period between purchase and delivery of a firearm from a licensed dealer. Need a gun fast? Forget about it. Oh, and the 3 days don’t include weekends or holidays.
- You are exempt from the waiting period if you have a concealed carry license or are trading in another gun.
- For rifles and shotguns, you are exempt from the waiting period if you have completed a hunter safety course and have the card to prove it, are exempt from hunter safety requirements AND have a valid Florida hunting license, or you are a cop or corrections officer.
- Violating the waiting period is a 3rd-degree felony.
- Includes a firearm registry of sorts — “Records of firearm sales must be available for inspection by any law enforcement agency, as defined in s. 934.02, during normal business hours.” (Section 33 specifies exceptions to Florida’s so-called prohibition of firearm registration.)
- Bump-fire stocks are banned, making an instant felon of anyone who has one. “A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”
- Expands police powers by “providing a judicial procedure for law enforcement officers to obtain a court order temporarily restricting a person’s access to firearms and ammunition.” (This essentially gives even more power to the government agencies which failed utterly to prevent the murders which precipitated this law.)
- Makes the act of threatening “a mass shooting or act of terrorism” a 2nd-degree felony.
- Creates a “School Safety Awareness Program” which must “competitively procure a mobile suspicious activity reporting tool that allows students and the community to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to appropriate public safety agencies and school officials.”
- Creates a “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission” (yay, more government….) to “investigate system failures in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and prior mass violence incidents in this state and develop recommendations for system improvements. At a minimum, the commission shall analyze information and evidence from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and other mass violence incidents in this state.”
- Creates an “Office of Safe Schools” within the Department of Education to “serve as a central repository for best practices, training standards, and compliance oversight in all matters regarding school safety and security, including prevention efforts, intervention efforts, and emergency preparedness planning.”
- Requires students to disclose previous “referrals to mental health services” when registering for school.
- Requires “each district school board and school district superintendent [to] partner with law enforcement agencies to establish or assign one or more safe-school officers at each school facility within the district.”
- Requires school boards to have a “threat assessment team” to “consult with law enforcement when a student exhibits a pattern of behavior, based upon previous acts or the severity of an act, that would pose a threat to school safety.”
- Creates a new Statute called the “Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool” which requires contracting a private “security consulting firm that specializes in the development of risk assessment software solutions and has experience in conducting security assessments of public facilities to develop, update, and implement a risk assessment tool” which “must be used by school officials at each school district and public school site in the state in conducting security assessments for use by school officials at each school district and public school site in the state.” (Gee, what could possibly go wrong?)
- Calls for spending a lot of money (you can view a breakdown here).
I don’t know what else to say, except to point out that if you still rely on Republicans to safeguard your rights, you’re sadly mistaken.