A new legislative session means law-abiding gun owners in Florida need to be on guard for the latest assault on the Second Amendment at both the state and federal levels. Although there were many proposals last year, no new firearms laws were passed in Florida. That has not discouraged our elected state level representatives from trying again this year. There are already bills filed in the Florida legislature that could affect your gun and self-defense rights—many of them, unfortunately, for the worse. Here is a preview of some bills that have been filed and raised (so far) that are noteworthy. Keep in mind, all the bills and resolutions listed below are currently proposals and not law. There is still quite a way to go. We predict the bills filed thus far will be joined by many others this legislative session. Although this article will touch upon many of the laws pending before the Florida legislature, it is by no means all-inclusive.
2021 State Proposals
- Senate Bill 294: Safe Storage of Loaded Firearms. This bill edits the law found in Florida Statute §790.174. The amended law would require anyone possessing a loaded firearm on a premise, likely to be accessed by a minor younger than 16 years of age, to keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or secure it with a trigger lock or cable. The amendment removes the exclusion which allows a person carrying the firearm on his or her body, or within such proximity to themselves, that they could retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if they were carrying it. This means that in your own home, you would be prohibited from carrying a firearm on your person or keeping it in your night table for the protection of your family if minors under 16 years of age were present in the home.
Further, the amendment makes the failure to store your firearm as described above a crime, even if a minor does not gain access to the firearm. There is also no longer a requirement that in order for criminal liability to attach, a minor must gain access to the firearm and possess or exhibit it without the supervision required by law in a public place, or in a rude careless, angry, or threatening manner.
Finally, criminal liability attaches EVEN if the minor obtains the firearm through illegal entry into your home or onto your premises.
- Senate Bill 330: Sale & Delivery of Firearms. This bill essentially eliminates the ability of private parties to sell firearms directly to each other. The bill requires that all sales and purchases of firearms be conducted through a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) and that a background check be conducted prior to the sale being completed.
- Senate Bill 370: Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines. This bill makes the sale of what it defined as “Assault Weapons” and any magazine which can hold over 10 rounds illegal in Florida. Further, it makes the mere possession of such items a crime, unless they were previously owned prior to October 1, 2021, and the person who possesses such item is eligible to apply for a Certificate of Possession prior to July 1, 2022, and applies for a Certificate of Possession by October 1, 2022.
- Senate Bill 372: Three-dimensional Printed Firearms. This bill outlaws the making, transfer, and/or possession of any 3D-printed firearm made using certain listed materials, that does not contain at least 4 ounces of metal to make it detectable by metal detectors at security check points.
- House Bill 25: Sales of Ammunition. Amends Florida Statute §790.065 to require background checks for the purchase or transfer of ammunition, with some exceptions.
- House Bill 123: Carrying of Firearms Without Licenses. This bill removes the requirement that a license is required to carry a concealed firearm in this state. It also creates a reciprocity license for use in states outside of Florida that have reciprocity agreements with Florida.
There are other bills pending in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. We urge you to take the time to learn about these pending laws and contact your Representatives and Senators and let them know how you feel about these bills.
Federal Proposals on the Horizon
Last session, the 116th U.S. Congress proposed assault weapons bans, red flag orders, mandatory reporting of NICS denials to law enforcement, and countless other anti-2A legislation. All of these individual proposals were awful, but none were worse than the omnibus HR 5717 (Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020), which would have incorporated the worst provisions of each of these proposals. If you want a preview of what anti-gun bills filed during the 117th Congress could look like, pay attention to HR 5717. The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021, and their term ends on January 3, 2023. To learn about how federal law is made, check out The Legislative Process by the United States House of Representatives, and stay tuned. We are keeping a close watch for bills and resolutions that would affect Second Amendment rights.
For more information about 2021 legislation that could impact your rights as a law-abiding gun owner, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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