State Democrats in the House and Senate kicked off the 2016 session with a host of proposals to repeal stand your ground, tightening restrictions at gun shows and on carry permits.
The bills, one in the Senate and two in the House, if passed in their current form would make fundamental changes to Florida’s gun statutes.
One, sponsored by state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa, would require anyone selling or transferring a firearm at a gun show to first go through a federal firearms license holder and perform a background check. Private person-to-person sales are allowed in Florida at gun shows under current law, which the senator feels is a loophole that needs to be closed.
“No one should be exempt from the background check,” said Joyner. Her proposal, SB370, has been referred to the Criminal Justice, and Commerce and Tourism and Rules subcommittees where a similar 2013 bill filed by the lawmaker tanked.
In the House, Rep. Alan Williams, a Democrat representing Tallahassee, wants to scrap the state’s controversial “stand your ground” laws and set the clock back on how justifiable homicide is adjudicated in Florida.
“There are provisions of the law that allow aggressors to get away with murder, so I want us to repeal it and start over, so hopefully this is our opportunity,” Williams said previously.
His legislation, HB4011, would reinstate a duty to retreat from one’s home, place of work, vehicle and other places if possible before being allowed to use force to defend themselves.
This is not the lawmaker’s first attempt to rewrite the law. Williams criticized stand your ground in 2011, saw a challenge he filed to repeal it in 2013 fall far short in an 11-2 committee vote and rebooted a similar bill the next year which also failed to gain traction.
A third gun control measure, introduced by Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, would make a number of changes to Florida’s concealed weapon licenses.
Clarke-Reed’s HB935 would mandate that a permit holder approached by a first responder advise they have a firearm under threat of a $1,000 fine. Additionally, it would up the training requirement to at least 12 hours; making many currently accepted 8-hour courses obsolete.
Second amendment advocates in the state promise to mount a campaign to halt these and other potential anti-gun measures this session but warned of likely efforts elsewhere.
“Emboldened by President Obama’s most recent attack on the Second Amendment, I doubt Florida will be the only state to see a new push by anti-gun legislators at the state level,” Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past president of the National Rifle Association, told Guns.com.
“A willingness, by anti-gun legislators, to support the gun control measures advanced by the White House seems evident. We must all stand and fight to protect Freedom and our rights,” said Hammer.
Florida’s 2016 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday.