Last week’s school shooting massacre in suburban Detroit prompted Sen. Tina Polsky this week to highlight four bills she previously introduced to prevent tragedies like that from happening in Florida — again.
Polsky filed four bills in October and November that would tighten gun regulations in several ways, by addressing gun construction, ammunition and gun storage, as well as adding those deemed mentally incompetent to a database that would alert law enforcement that they shouldn’t have a gun.
The Democrat from Boca Raton called the bills common-sense legislation to keep people safer without infringing on gun rights.
“It shouldn’t take yet another mass shooting at a high school to deal with the gun violence brought about by irresponsible and reckless gun owners,” Polsky said in a statement. “These bills that I am filing are an important common-sense set of steppingstones designed to make our state safer.”
The bills include:
— SB 872, the “ghost guns’ bill,” prohibits possession of unfinished frames or receivers that don’t have a serial number, rendering the weapon untraceable. These unfinished frames can become fully operational firearms using parts and kits that can be bought online. A 14-year-old girl was shot and killed by her brother this week with a ghost gun, according to media reports.
— SB 334, filed on Oct. 1, is known as Jaime’s Law, named after Jaime Guttenberg, a victim in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. It would close the ammunition loophole by requiring background checks on ammunition purchases.
— SB 402, filed Oct. 2, would require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to submit information on those not legally eligible to possess firearms into the Florida Crime Information Center.
—SB 1166, filed Oct. 1, would strengthen requirements to keep guns out of the hands of those younger than 18 and add penalties for any minor who leaves a gun around for another minor, who then causes injury or death.
Polsky said responsible gun owners should be able to get behind the legislation.
The bills, she said, “will only continue to reinforce the emphasis on firearm safety we all, as a community, desperately need.”
A 2018 poll from Monmouth University backs her up. It found that 83% of Americans support requiring comprehensive background checks for all gun purchasers, including private sales between two individuals. Among National Rifle Association members, 69% agree.
The 2018 school shooting in Parkland left 17 dead and prompted the state’s first significant gun control legislation in 20 years. It raised the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 and added a “red flag law” that allows law enforcement to take away guns from those making threats or having severe mental breakdowns.
Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat from Fort Lauderdale, doesn’t see public support for gun control policy swaying the Florida Legislature, though.
Farmer said he had proposed three or four bills each year for the past four years that would tweak gun laws, including one that proposed closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” which he is again proposing this year (SB 204). None of his bills have received a hearing.
Current laws do not require the seller to perform a background check on the buyer in a private sale.
“Even after the shock and horror of Parkland, we couldn’t get that,” Farmer said. “It’s one of the more egregious examples of control by a special interest.”