How Have Florida's Gun Laws Changed Since Parkland?
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. On Feb. 14, 2018, former student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and faculty members and injured 17 others in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
Florida has implemented the most legislative changes since the Parkland shooting, and as measures have been debated in other states, few have become law.
Here are the most notable gun control proposals that have been brought forward in the past year.
Just weeks after the Parkland shooting, then Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which imposed a three day waiting period for purchasing a gun and raised the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. This provision has received pushback from the National Rifle Association, which argues that it is unconstitutional.
This bill also allows for the arming of some school employees. Named the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, after one of the faculty members who died at Stoneman protecting the lives of students, it allows school staff who are not exclusively teachers to be trained to carry guns on the job as campus “guardians.” Staff must undergo 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety training, pass a psychological exam and successfully complete random drug tests and ongoing firearm training.
The act contains a provision (dubbed a “red flag law”) that would grant law enforcement the ability to seize firearms from anyone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
Bump stocks are devices which can be added to firearms to give them the capabilities of an automatic weapon. These accessories increase the rate of fire for semiautomatic weapons.
A bill was passed in October 2018that bans the sale, transfer, and ownership of bump stocks. It also outlines the possession of such accessories as a third-degree felony. Finally, it calls for the relinquishment of bump stocks for those who own them.
If enacted, this bill will take effect beginning on July 1, 2019. It prohibits the carrying of any weapons, lethal or not, on spaces such as government buildings and school campuses with a few exceptions.
Firearms may be carried by those with a concealed weapons license on postsecondary school campuses only if there is a school-sponsored function or firearm training, and only with advance permission of the school’s administration.
Other Proposals for the Upcoming 2019 Legislative Session
Arming Teachers - would alter Senate Bill 7026 to add teachers and “contract employees” to the Aaron Feis Guardian Program.
This bill has attracted opposition from groups such as the National Association of Secondary School Principals and advocacy groups like Moms Demand Action.
Licensed Transactions - requires transfer of firearms to be conducted by a licensed dealer
Removal of Waiting Period - removes the waiting period for handgun purchases and the minimum age requirement of 21 for gun purchases, remove the ban on bump stocks and repeal law enforcement’s ability to confiscate firearms.
Protection of Child Care Facilities - prohibits licensed concealed weapons carrier to openly carry firearms in any child care facility
Students Can Have Firearms on Campus - permits students to have a firearm on campus in their vehicle in the event of certain firearm programs
Restrictions on Where to Carry Guns - outlines areas where licensed individuals are prohibited from carrying firearms, including college campuses, courthouses, and jails
Law Enforcement Manages Gun Ownership - designates the Department of Law Enforcement as the entity to regulate and collect fees from concealed licensing