Senate President Bill Galvano remained confident Wednesday his chamber will consider a bill to eliminate the state’s gun show loophole.
On the eve of Session, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee took up SB 7028, one of Galvano’s priorities, at his behest. That committee unanimously passed the bill over the concerns of National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who called it “gun control on steroids.”
“They did their job, they put it out, but I also have to have faith in the process, and I’ve told the Senators that they’re empowered and I’m not going to micromanage from the fourth floor,” Galvano said.
But by Wednesday, the bill has not yet been scheduled a hearing in its next committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee. With a full committee agenda next week and a slew of bills to schedule for coming weeks, committee Chair Sen. David Simmons couldn’t say when Judiciary might take it up.
Still, Galvano indicated his faith in Simmons’ committee to advance the bill.
And even if the bill makes it off the floor, Senate leaders would need to negotiate with House leaders reluctant to move on the measure. Plus, Hammer told Florida Politics she’ll keep a tally for the NRA’s legislative scorecard.
“I’ve always maintained it’s a difficult bill,” Galvano said. “We’ve had objections and concerns raised on both sides of the issue.”
After the House session Wednesday, House Speaker José Oliva indicated there was little hope for Galvano’s proposal on his side of the Rotunda.
“That is a proposal like so many others that probably will not move very far here in the House, if at all, because that’s just the way the chambers are,” Oliva said.
The bill would eliminate the gun show loophole by requiring criminal background checks on people purchasing firearms from unlicensed sellers. Unlicensed sellers could ask a licensed seller to request the background check, though the licensed seller could charge a fee.
The measure would also raise the age of minors from which gun owners must secure their firearms to 18, previously 16. And gun owners would have to secure their weapons from anyone of “unsound mind.”
The bill’s final Senate committee would be the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The security package would also create 37 full-time Florida Department of Law Enforcement positions. And $4.8 million recurring funds and $1 million nonrecurring general revenue funds would go to implement a statewide strategy for targeted violence prevention.
Over the weekend, Galvano fended off attacks from his right after Breitbart resurfaced a story that his political committee took funds from former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg‘s committee for gun control. Donald Trump Jr. slammed the Senate President as a RINO for accepting the cash and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz piled on.
And Wednesday, Oliva vouched for Galvano’s character.
“I’ve served with President Galvano for nine years. I think he’s served for a total of 16,” he said. “If there’s one that that President Galvano is not is a RINO.”