Florida Senate Passes AR ban, Changes Mind, Doesn’t Pass Ban

By Faye Higbee

Florida Senate lawmakers are locked in a gun battle. Two days ago, it looked like they passed a ban on AR weapons. Fifteen minutes later, a re-vote showed they didn’t have enough votes to do it. The full bill is being debated on the Senate floor today, Monday, March 5.

Update: The Florida Senate passed the gun Bill by a vote of 20-18. It will now move to the House.

On Saturday, an amendment introduced by Senator Braynon was added to Florida SB 7026 that would have created a moratorium on the possession, sale, or transfer of AR-15 style weapons for a minimum of two years.

A voice vote appeared to allow it to pass. But when they called for a roll-call vote, it failed 21-17.

Originally, there were 151 amendments to the bill. Most were either withdrawn or not considered at all.

Florida gun bill SB 7026

This is the summary (emphasis mine):

Public Safety; Citing this act as the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act”; authorizing the awarding of grants through the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund for student crime watch programs; establishing the Office of Safe Schools within the Department of Education; prohibiting a person who has been adjudicated mentally defective or been committed to a mental institution from owning or possessing a firearm until certain relief is obtained; prohibiting a person younger than a certain age from purchasing a firearm; prohibiting specified acts relating to the sale and possession of bump-fire stocks; creating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission within the Department of Law Enforcement, etc.

Arming certain deputized teachers

The bill contains a provision for “school marshals” – specific teachers/staff to be trained according to extensive law enforcement standards to use firearms for the purposes of school safety. It also authorizes certain retired law enforcement officers who are assigned to schools to seize firearms and ammunition from students who have made credible threats against others, and requires the storage of those items until the “disability” is past.

Extreme Risk Protection orders

It establishes an extreme risk protection order system, which requires the surrender of all firearms and ammunition to the law enforcement agency when a risk protection order has been filed. (We’ve reported on these previously). The Florida bill provides that the temporary ex parte orders are obtained by a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency.

Raising the legal age of purchase

It raises the legal age to purchase a gun to 21. Such a provision needs to be tested in the Supreme Court, as we have previously reported, the US military can recruit persons from 18-20 and all are legally adults. The Bill of Rights must apply to all or it is useless.

Ban on Bump Stocks

It bans bump stocks entirely, a situation we’ve also previously reported in other states.

Background checks/Mental illness

It establishes a 3 day waiting period for purchasing guns, with exceptions for someone who has completed a Hunter Safety course. It increases background checks in an attempt to make it harder for mentally ill people to obtain weapons.

The vast majority of people who are treated for mental illness are medicated, NOT ADJUDICATED. Adjudicated means appearing before a court judge and having a legal paper stating that the person is mentally ill. That kind of situation is rare when you’re talking about young people. And the bill specifically says children should not be committed to an institution.

Threats in writing to harm someone are considered a 2nd degree Felony.

Democrats don’t think the bill goes far enough. A handful of Republicans think the age requirement may be going too far. Florida is locked in a gun battle, and the emotional response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre will only make more laws, not deal with the actual problem.