Florida Legislature Passes Sweeping Gun Legislation

By Faye Higbee

The Florida legislature passed the sweeping gun bill we previously reported on and sent it to Governor Rick Scott’s desk. The bill passed the Senate on Monday, and it passed the House on Wednesday night.

Politico reported on the details:

The bill offers stricter gun control measures by raising the age limit for purchases from 18 to 21 and requires a three-day waiting period for the purchase of all weapons. There’s also a ban on bump stocks, which make the rapid shooting easier.

The bill also includes money for school districts to hire more school resource officers, and programs that beef up mental health services. There is a provision that expands the powers of law enforcement by allowing them to temporarily suspend someone’s gun rights if they are admitted for psychiatric evaluation under the state Baker Act. They could also petition a court to extend the suspension of powers over the 72-hour life of the Baker Act to 60 days.

Perhaps the most controversial provision is the Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which would deploy highly-trained school employees under the direction of the sheriff in each county. It was named after a Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach killed in the attack…

Additionally, the legislation creates the “Risk Protection Order Act” that allows police to petition a court to allow law enforcement to temporarily seize ammunition and guns for up to a year from a person who “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others.”

Under this risk protection order section of the bill, a judge can grant the order based on a variety of criteria, including whether the gun owner has committed or threatened an act of violence in the prior year, is a stalker or has been convicted, had adjudication withheld or pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge. In emergency situations, police can seize the weapons without a full hearing, which would be conducted after the fact.

The legislature removed the “school marshal” program that would have allowed any teacher to volunteer for intensive law enforcement training. The school guardian program will be for specific school employees, and the training will be extensive. Governor Scott was not in favor of arming any teachers, but is expected to sign the bill.

We have previously reported that raising the limit to purchase rifles is iffy, since in all states, an 18 year old is a legal adult – and the military recruits members from 18, 19, 20 year olds.

Waiting periods for gun purchases are irrelevant and worthless..it never will and cannot stop someone from killing. The original Brady Bill had a waiting period of 7 days that quickly became worthless once NICS was created.

The Extreme Risk Protection Orders portion of the act leaves open the potential for gun confiscation without a full court hearing.