Freshman state Rep. Dan Daley says he plans to press for additional follow-up to safety legislation passed in the aftermath of the 2018 Parkland shooting.
The Coral Springs Democrat is entering his first Legislative Session after he won the House District 97 seat in 2019. Daley’s district borders Parkland and is home to many families affected by that attack.
In a discussion with Florida Politics, Daley highlighted a pair of bills that are at the top of his to-do list during the 2020 Session, which began Tuesday, Jan. 14.
First, Daley is pushing for Florida to join California in requiring background checks for the purchase of ammunition.
“I don’t view it as infringing on someone’s Second Amendment rights,” Daley said of the measure (HB 289), dubbed “Jaime’s Law” after Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people killed in the 2018 attack.
“It’s a public safety issue. A bad guy gets his hand on a gun and the state’s left the door wide open to let him walk in and purchase as much ammunition as he wants, with really no protection. And that’s kind of mind-boggling to me.”
California approved a version of the legislation last year. New York has also approved a similar bill, though it has yet to go into effect.
Daley’s measure also bars ammunition from being transferred to another person, if the transferor has reason to believe the recipient would commit a crime or is already prohibited from possessing ammunition.
If those red flags are not apparent, then ammunition can still be transferred so long as the ammunition is transferred at a shooting range, or for hunting, and the original owner of the ammunition is present.
The push here in Florida, however, is certain to be met with resistance among the Republican-controlled Legislature. That’s a reality Daley recognizes.
“That’ll continue to be my top priority. I know it’s an uphill battle. I know it’s going to be a challenge in this Legislature. But I think you’ve got to keep fighting on things like that.”
The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, who was also one of the 17 killed at Stoneman Douglas High School.
“That’s another one that to me is a no-brainer,” Daley said.
“We’ve got hard-wired panic alarms in the Capitol. And so if a panic alarm is good enough to protect us, it’s sure as heck good enough to protect our schoolkids.”
The panic alarms in schools wouldn’t need to be hardwired. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book, was approved by the Infrastructure and Security Committee last week.
“A lot of the state, and a lot of the country have moved on,” Daley said of the shooting, before urging the Legislature to continue work on the issue.
“To me, it’s not all about the guns, it’s not all about school hardening, it’s not all about mental health. It’s a combination of all three and then some.”
The bill is named “Allie’s Law” after a Boston terrier from Orlando who was abused by its previous owner. A failure to report signs of abuse could lead to suspension of a vet’s license, an administrative fine up to $5,000 or other penalties.
“All it’s doing is making them follow their oath,” Daley said.
“They take an oath to protect the health and welfare and safety of animals. And that’s something that they should be required to do. If you come into contact with someone you suspect has been abusing their animals, you should report it.”
Daley says he has heard pushback on the bill, however, for its strict reporting requirements.
“I think some folks have concerns with potentially, as they put it, criminalizing a professional for not reporting,” Daley recalled.
“But that being the case, you should be living your oath. You’re a veterinarian, you should be living that oath to begin with to protect the health, safety and welfare of animals. So it shouldn’t be a problem. And I think for most veterinarians, it’s not a problem because if they suspect abuse they’re going to report it anyway.”
The freshman lawmaker also dished on his first week up in Tallahassee as a member of the Legislature.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Daley described. “Tuesday, the opening day of Session, was the realization and the accomplishment of a 10-year goal for me.”
It’s not the first time Daley has worked in the Legislature, as he worked as an aide for former state Rep. Ari Porth.
Daley said that experience has helped him get his footing during his first Session.
“First and foremost, I know where that bathrooms are,” Daley joked.
“Honestly, I can’t imagine being a newly-minted elected official and coming up here. Even for me, it was like drinking out of a fire hose at first in trying to get the flow of things, trying to meet everyone, trying to develop relationships and trying to decide what bills to file.”
But he said he’s looking forward to continuing his work over the 60-day Session.
“It’s been a lot and it’s been amazing.”