Margaret Good aims for background checks on private gun sales

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Background checks should stop violent felons from buying guns. State Rep. Margaret Good just filed legislation to make all sellers actually use them.

“I don’t know if people understand that if you buy off the internet in Florida, if you buy off of Craiglist or you do it person to person, a background check is not required,” Good said.

“That’s easy access for violent criminals to buy guns.”

Good, a Sarasota Democrat, filed legislation regulating the transfer of firearms (HB 135) as her first bill for the 2019 Legislation Session.

The bill if passed will require most gun sales to be done in conjunction with a licensed firearms dealer. Basically, individuals selling their own guns will need to work through a dealer, who will conduct background checks the same as done on those purchasing guns from licensed shops.

Dealers will be able to process third-party sales the same as they do for their own merchandise. Sellers will be able to keep the guns while checks get conducted. In the event a buyer fails a background check, the transfer will not be allowed.

The legislation includes certain exceptions. Guns inherited from family members won’t be subject to background checks, nor will transfers of antique firearms.

But selling a gun without a required background check will become a third-degree felony should the bill become law.

Good said it’s important that gun sales take place by the book whether done in professional gun shops or through personal classified ads.

“I have heard several stories from prosecutors who were prosecuting violent criminals who had guns purchased in their own name, people who as a felon should not have had a gun,” she said.

This legislation, in fact, serves as the first bill with Good as a prime sponsor since she won her state House seat in a special election in February. She won re-election in November.

The timing of her initial election ultimately made gun control a focus of Good’s legislative career so far. The lawmaker was sworn into office on Feb. 14, 2018, the same day a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“It’s really important for me to honor that day,” she said. “It was such a momentous day in my life for a good reason, and then for Floridians for a terrible reason. It’s important to me to remember that.”

The Associated Press just named the Parkland shooting as the top news story of 2018. The attack upended the 2018 Legislative Session as policymakers turned to school safety and gun control as the predominant issue for the latter half of the legislative session.

The Legislature ultimately passed a reform package, later signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, to harden schools and enact modest gun control measures. But Good voted against the measure at the time, saying it did not do enough to curb gun violence.

During deliberation, she offered an amendment that would have put in place the background checks she now calls for in her new bill. The legislation could still face opposition from lawmakers uninterested in getting on the wrong side of pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association, but Good says polls consistently show overwhelming support for background checks, especially in the wake of shootings like the one in Parkland.

“This is just common sense gun violence prevention,” she said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • William

    December 23, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Craigslist prohibits gun sales. These people don’t know what they are trying to regulate.

    Criminals get their guns out of the back of someone’s car trunk or in an alley. Such a law will do nothing to prevent that.

    It’s a feel good measure only – that will cause a further burden on law abiding citizens. But then, that’s the entire intent of the democrats.

    • Carolsue

      December 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      It won’t cause a burden on law-abiding citizens because they follow the laws and undergo background checks. And why would they object since it keeps them safe, too? And if it stops one illegal gun from killing someone because police arrest someone with it in a car, wouldn’t it be worth it?

      • Bruce

        December 27, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Because it only causes a burden FOR legal gun owners and does nothing to stop illegal sales or gun crime. This bill is intended to remove gun rights from legal buyers, not illegal sellers.

    • sandy oestreich

      January 3, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      NO bill is perfect, BUT IF ONE LIFE IS SAVED BY REP GOOD’S BILL, it is a Blessing!

      Thank Goodness for Margaret Good in the Florida legislature! Smart, strong, and GOOD.

  • liberty and justice

    December 23, 2018 at 1:12 am

    William is right. in fact the only website that do allow gun sales are sites which deal almost exclusively in guns and those site require every measure which would be required if you were buying from a dealer in your state. if your state requires a purchase permit then you will need a purchase permit. and transfers have to be completed thru a licensed dealer who is required to run a background check. these ppl are either completely ignorant of the things they are trying to regulate or they are just loutright lying to ppl who don’t know know any better. like they always do. and btw the parkland shooter bought his gun from a licensed dealer and actually did pass a background check. the fact that he was able to pass a background check is a failure on the part of the FBI , local law enforcement entities and court psychiatrists who were All familiar with that psycho and failed to do anything to prevent that tragedy . also , legislators who vote against these idiotic gun control measures aren’t doing so because they’re afraid of the NRA. they do it because they’re either afraid of their constituents or they actually believe that the constitution should count for something.

  • john r frontado

    December 23, 2018 at 8:01 am

    The issue is that this measure will not stop crime and craigslist don’t allow for gin sales. Ms Good don’t have a clue of guns sales and crime

  • Bruce

    December 23, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I echo what the others have written…even IF you could buy a gun online the postal service won’t ship it to you. Federal gun laws require that internet purchases only be shipped to a licensed dealer…. the buyer would have to go to the gun store and pick it up…then the dealer would then run a background check on the buyer..

    FBI statistics also say private gun sales make up less than .02% of guns used in crime. Criminals don’t buy guns on the internet, or gun shows, or from a private seller..they buy stolen guns from another criminal…maybe start proposing laws meant to deter crime, not slowly erode 2nd amendment rights of law abiding gun owners.

    None of what she is proposing wold have any effect on illegal sales of stolen weapons, or gun crime.


    December 23, 2018 at 10:21 am

    One CANNOT purchase a firearm online WITHOUT A BACKGROUND CHECK, EVER! Guns purchased online are, in fact, shipped to a LICENSED dealer who performs the background check when the buyer arrives to pick up the weapon. FACT: CRAIGSLIST FORBIDS ALL firearms sales on its website. FACT: NO criminal can purchase a firearm through any Licensed Dealer IF law enforcement and the Courts report the criminal’s name and vitals to the FBI. FACT: The Vast Majority of criminals buy their guns from Other Criminals who steal them during burglaries and other types of thefts, not from Licensed Dealers. FACT: There are Tens-of-Thousands of law-abiding Citizens who do not want their names associated with their gun purchases, therefore, they engage in private sale or trading of firearms. This law, if passed, will NOT deter these people. FACT: This proposed law WILL NOT protect ANY Citizen from a criminal act. It will act only as a revenue generator for the State in the costs for the background checks. As a Licensed Firearms Dealer myself, even though I would make some money on the transaction, I am against this proposed law and will fight against its passage.

  • Tom

    December 23, 2018 at 11:34 am

    This only works if private citizens can call and get a background check.

  • Chris

    December 23, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Enforced it. Tell me how that will work? It’s unenforceable.

  • Richard Nascak

    December 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Florida Carry, the largest independent self-defense rights organization in the state and its tens of thousands registered members and supporters vehemently condemn this foolhardy and dangerous attempt at nonadjudicated abrogation of Floridian’s Fourth Amendment right to be secure in one’s effects. We stand against this, and any further infringement upon the right that “shall not be infringed “, and we urge Representative Good to employ intellectual honesty instead of partisan propaganda.

    • Tech

      December 25, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      She has ambitions for Tallahassee. She knows she’ll only get there with help from the Fl Democratic Committee so she will subscribe to whatever the party line is no matter how irresponsible any gun control proposal is.

      • Carolsue

        December 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        Did you even read the story to see if you might learn something? She is already a state representative.

        • Bruce

          December 27, 2018 at 11:20 am

          Who might want to be a State Senator or run for Governor…that is what he is revering too. ONly thing you can learn from the story is that she is parroting what anti gun groups have put out…as many have stated, you can’t buy a gun on the internet and her idea is 100% unenforceable.

  • Sam Green

    December 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Her timing is appropriate. Today, the last living surviving holocaust fighter from the Warsaw Ghetto; Simcha Rotem, who is one of my heroes,rose up against the Poles and Nazis when they began mass deportations from the Polish capital.
    He stood up to the Margarot Goods of his day, and just like the Democratic battle call of today, HE RESISTED, but not like Ms Goods fight against Donald Trump, Simcha was resisting to save as many people as he could from slaughter.

    In the 1930’s, Poland and Germany vigorously took away all the firearms from every Jew, which was followed by Kristallnacht and the Pograms, with the systematic slaughter of SIX million UNARMED JEWS. Much easier a thing to do when the people are stript of their self defense tools.

    This Jewish retired US Army soldier and lifelong Democrat that voted against Ms Good, for her attempts to make Sarasota a sanctuary city and her antics trying to ban law abiding citizens the right to self defend themselves.

    After I retired from the military, a couple years later an armed home invader came to pay me a visit, having the means to defend myself and those I care for saved the day, and I’m alive DUE TO THE BEING ABLE TO LEGALLY DEFEND MYSELF. I’d like to see this inept politician lead by example.

    When she tells her state police, police and sheriff deputies that they can go home as she doesnt have the need for armed LEOs to protect her, and her family, then on that day I may consider disarming my self defense tools.

    Until that day, she should try to enact other issues far more important. Although if she wants to enact mandatory firearm training for all 1st time gun owners, I’d like to see that, but Ms Goods agenda is to warped to actually make positive changes all votes could agree on. The only good news is Gillum lost, as the Gillum/Good tag team would have been nauseating.

  • Christopher Stehling

    December 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    I want background checks on every gallon of gas,every propane tank, every car sale/car rental, every bottle of booze, every drug sale to a school student………….

  • Reginald Hafner

    December 24, 2018 at 7:17 am

    More nonsense that will accomplish nothing by a dimwit politician .

  • Rich

    December 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Background checks are essentially an undermining of our belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The background check assumes you are guilty and demands you prove your innocence before acquiring a gun.

    Furthermore, universal background checks are the result of failing to carry out justice on violent criminals who should have been put to death. People who engage in embezzlement or fail to pay child support or things like that don’t deserve a death penalty nor do they deserve to have their God-given right to keep and bear arms removed. Those people should be required to either pay back what they took with interest or pay what they owe. an armed society spends its time stopping evil not contemplating it.

  • Rich

    December 24, 2018 at 9:25 am

    There is no such thing as “gun violence”. This is a focus-group-driven buzzword and talking point to create an imaginary bogeyman as the main anti 2nd Amendment propaganda tool. There are PEOPLE who commit violence with guns, but there are many more people who commit violence without them.
    And, since the term “gun violence” is a catchword/cliche, the title suggests an unattainable goal. People have been robbing and killing other people, using the weapons of the day, since the beginning of man on this planet, which identifies the real issue – controlling criminal impulses in humans, not the otherwise legal instruments they use to commit crimes.
    Anyone who doesn’t realize and/or acknowledge this isn’t thinking, s/he is ‘feeling’, and our liberty cannot depend upon what anybody ‘feels’.

  • Barry Hirsh

    December 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Private sales are not commerce. The gov’t may regulate commerce, but not lawful private sales.

  • jack burton

    December 24, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Liberals tell us it is easier to buy an illegal gun than to buy a book, so, why don’t they just prove to all us hard-headed, gun-toting conservatives just how easy it is? Here’s what you do…go down to wherever you think it is that illegal guns are sold…street corners, back alleys, gun shows…wherever! Take cash. Most criminals probably aren’t set up to take MasterCard or Visa. Purchase the gun for cash. You can haggle a little, but remember…”if it saves just one life it”ll be worth it”. So don’t be cheap.

    Next, you take the gun directly to the nearest police station. They can dispose of it for you and also check to see if it’s been used in any crimes. And then, this is the good part, you tell the police exactly where you bought the gun and give a description of the person who sold it to you. If possible, try to drop the gun into a bag and maybe it will have some usable fingerprints for the police. Take video of the exchange if you can do it surreptitiously. It may not hold up in court for putting this guy away, but should go a long way in mitigating any charges towards you for purchasing an illegal firearm.

    It’s a veritable threefer! You have irrefutable proof of just how easy it is to buy a gun, shutting the mouths of all those pro-gun types. You have taken an illegal firearm off the street AND taken an illegal gun dealer off the street as well! What more could you ask for? If it’s that easy to buy a gun, it’s just common sense, right? If liberals from coast to coast take millions of illegal guns off the street and likewise thousands of illegal gun dealers, everybody wins! Right?

    So, what’ll it be liberals? Up to the challenge?

  • jack burton

    December 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Here is revealed the “common sense” that Margaret presents. She really, really, believe in her heart that the midnight-behind-the-bar-in-an-alley-illegal-gun-seller-from-the-trunk-of-his-car will demand his social deviant, thuggish customers get a “background check” before he will do business with them if only the state can pass the “right law.”

    This is the famous “common sense” that they use to determine the amount of freedom and liberty that we get to have.

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