Letter placards spelling the words “Background Checks” raised upward this week outside the Florida Capitol as gun reform activists gathered.
State Rep. Margaret Good said seeing some 500 advocates visit Tallahassee just offers visual confirmation to what polls already show. Floridians want to close loopholes and stop firearms from landing in the wrong hands.
“It’s part of a great divide between what Floridians want and what the Legislature is doing,” she said. “I am doing everything I can to bridge that.”
So did state Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat who also filed multiple bills regarding firearm access.
“I look forward to continued conversations about the best ways to keep our kids safe from gun violence in school,” Book wrote on social media.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said roughly twice as many members of the organization showed up in Tallahassee for the advocacy day today than came to Florida’s capitol for the event in 2018.
Similar events happened at statehouses around the country today.
But another Tallahassee fixture has shown less enthusiasm.
She said universal background checks will just lead to an abundance of dealer fees for any transfer, even just loaning a hunting rifle to a friend.
“The bill sponsor must assume that dealers will be eager to accommodate this gun control measure because they have an opportunity to make as much money as they choose while implementing the liberal left’s gun control schemes,” Hammer wrote.
She also saw background checks as a potential pathway to gun confiscation.
Good said she met with Hammer as well, but didn’t describe the meeting as productive.
“She provided a good deal of criticism without any god ideas of how to move the issue forward,” Good said.
But Good said her bill aims simply to require checks for every gun purchase. “We are working hard to make sure firearms don’t end up in the hands of those who should not have access, like convicted felons,” Good said.
But what does any of the activism mean in Florida, a land often called the “Gunshine State” by activists on both sides of the issue?
Good said she knows Republican leadership in the House now has an awareness of her bill. She wouldn’t speculate on whether matter might get a committee vote.
She pointed to a Quinnipiac poll taken after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last year that showed 96 percent of Floridians support background checks.
“It’s an issue that’s important the vast majority of Floridians,” Good said. “I am hopeful my Republican colleagues will recognize the is not a partisan issue.”