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TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 10/21/19-Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, asks a question during the Senate Rules Committee hearing into if suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Isreal should be removed from office, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The Senate is meeting in special session this week to decide if they will uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order removing Isreal from office, or return him to his post in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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José Javier Rodríguez files pair of bills to expand background checks

Democrats have promised to focus on the issue during the 2020 Session.

Sen. José Javier Rodríguez is joining his fellow Democrats’ push to reform Florida’s gun laws by introducing a pair of bills of his own.

Democrats have promised to focus on the issue during the 2020 Session after a trio of separate mass shootings in August in Texas and Ohio that left dozens dead.

Florida, of course, has dealt with its own mass shootings in recent years as well.

Both bills from Rodríguez aim to help ensure that those who purchase a gun go through a background check. Those checks are required when a gun is bought from a federally licensed dealer. But many private sales are not subject to background checks.

One measure from Rodríguez (SB 548) would force private gun sales to go through those dealers, ensuring a background check is conducted.

“If neither party to a prospective firearms sale, lease, or transfer is a licensed dealer, the parties to the transaction must complete the sale, lease, or transfer through a licensed dealer,” the bill reads.

The seller of the weapon would have to deliver it to a licensed dealer, which would then process the sale as usual. That process would include a background check.

The second bill being backed by Rodríguez (SB 586) would limit private sales to concealed carry permit holders. Those permit holders are required to undergo a federal background check also part of the application process.

“We need universal background checks on the sale of firearms,” Rodríguez. said in a statement on the measures.

“In addition to cosponsoring gun safety reforms proposed by my colleagues, two commonsense bills I have filed would close loopholes in our background checks system and give law enforcement the tools they need to identify someone who fails a background check.”

In addition to putting forward his own legislation, Rodríguez is co-sponsoring several other bills introduced by Democrats ahead of the 2020 Session.

Those include a measure by Sen. Gary Farmer that would strengthen the state’s safe storage laws (SB 266) and a bill from Sen. Lori Berman that would bar the carrying of a gun inside a child care facility (SB 398).

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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