Florida house passes bill to lower minimum age to buy a firearm

by Vern Evans

The Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would lower the minimum age to buy a firearm from 21 to 18. 

HB 1223, titled “Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer,” was passed in a 76-35 vote. The legislation, which was initially sponsored by Republican Representatives Bobby Payne and Tyler Sirois, will now move to the state Senate for further consideration. 

“An act relating to minimum age for firearm purchase or transfer; amending s. 790.065, F.S.; reducing the minimum age at which a person may purchase a firearm and the age of purchasers to which specified licensees are prohibited from selling or transferring a firearm; 6 repealing an exception; providing an effective date,” the bill text reads. 

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If the legislation is passed, it would go into effect on July 1. 

The bill would also overturn part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, passed in 2018 following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead and another 17 injured. Former student Nikolas Cruz stalked three floors of the classroom building with an assault rifle in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Cruz pleaded guilty in 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison.

Another bill filed in the House earlier this year seeks to institute harsher penalties on minors caught carrying guns. House Bill 1181, or the Juvenile Justice Bill, would make a minor’s first illegal possession of a gun a first-degree felony instead of a first-degree misdemeanor, and would increase the time a child would spend in a juvenile detention facility.

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HB 1181 is currently in the state Senate. 

The firearm debate was also brought all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court this past week, with the Justices divided over whether the federal government can ban so-called bump stocks, a device that increases the firepower of automatic weapons.

supreme court exterior

The case, Garland v. Cargill, presents whether a “bump stock” device is a “machine gun” as defined by federal law because it is designed and intended for use in converting a rifle into a weapon that fires “automatically more than one shot … by a single function of the trigger.” 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting building

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After a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 60 people dead and 500 more wounded, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued an interpretive rule concluding that “bump stocks” are machine guns.

Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy, Shannon Bream, and Landon Mion contributed to this report. 

Read the full article here

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