As the 2022 Florida legislative session began on Tuesday, competing proposals from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers addressing gun rights are set to be considered. One side of the debate promotes increased gun control, while the other side promotes loosening gun restrictions that are already in place.
The proposals by Democrats range from safe storage laws, the ban of “ghosts guns,” and a law that would require a background check each time an individual purchases or transfers ammunition.
“People often ask whether Congress is doing enough, whether the White House is doing enough, whether our state governments have done enough. … The answer to that question is no, undeniably no. Nobody has done or is doing enough,” said Congressman Ted Deutch during a virtual meeting between South Florida Democrats and gun safety activists.
The 2022 proposal for the safe storage bill (SB 1166) by Senator Tina Polsky is the fourth year it has been submitted to the legislature and looks to protect kids from guns through establishing a requirement that a loaded firearm in an individual’s home must be locked and put away out of reach of minors.
Commenting on re-filing the bill for the fourth time, Polsky said, “I naively thought this should be a fairly easy step to take when I entered the legislature four years ago.”
Poslky noted, “We’re not taking anyone’s guns – just requiring you to do the responsible thing.”
Polsky also proposed the bill (SB 334) that would require background checks for ammunition purchases, along with Representative Dan Daley of Coral Springs, who filed an identical bill (HB 181) in the Florida House. The Florida Capital Star reported the two bills are a joint attempt to tackle a “loophole” in Florida statutes that only requires a background check before the purchase of a firearm and does not require any further review.
Lastly, Polsky and Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Coconut Creek) filed identical bills (HB 527 and SB 872) banning ghost guns. Ghost guns are unregistered, untraceable, and unfinished firearms that finish the assembly process at an individual’s home.
Describing the process of building and purchasing a ghost gun, Hunschofsky stated, “Someone can go online right now, buy an 80% finished firearm. They can be told how to pay for it with cash so it can’t be traced. This firearm kit will be sent to them. … They will have all the tools to assemble it, and now they will have a firearm that they didn’t need a background check for – and that is untraceable because it has no serial number.”
As for Republicans, Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Clermont) proposed bills (HB 6099 and HB 6007) that would allow concealed firearms during legislative meetings and on college campuses. Another bill (HB 103), suggests getting rid of Florida’s concealed weapons permit completely, allowing the open and permit-less carry of firearms in Florida that is known in other states as “constitutional carry.”
“Constitutional carry – that’s open carry and permit-less carry. You should not have to ask the government for permission before you carry a firearm for your own self-defense, and you should be able to carry openly,” Sabatini says in a video posted by the group known as Gun Owners of America.
“The spineless RINO (Republican In Name Only) Republicans need to co-sponsor this bill and pass this thing. No more lying to the American people about being strong on the Second Amendment,” he added.
Sabatini’s last proposal, HB 6013, wants to remove a list of firearm ownership regulations that most notably includes the change of purchase age from 21 back to 18.
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Photo “Anthony Sabatini” by Florida House of Representatives. Photo “Tina Polsky” by Tina Polsky. CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo “Christine Hunschofsky” by Florida House of Representatives. Photo “Dan Daley” by Florida House of Representatives. Background Photo “Gun Wall” by zaphad1. CC BY 2.0.