Democratic lawmakers refile ‘Jaime’s Law’ to prescreen ammo sales
Image via AP

Bullets Bullet Ammunition Ammo AP
The measure applies to ammunition purchases the same strictures to which gun buyers are subject.

Democratic Rep. Dan Daley of Sunrise is nothing if not persistent, as evidenced by his fourth consecutive attempt at advancing legislation to require background checks for ammunition purchases.

On Tuesday, Daley again filed “Jaime’s Law” (HB 151), named after 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg, one of 17 people killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. If enacted, the measure would apply to ammunition purchases the same strictures placed on those buying a gun.

The proposed law would not apply to private transfers of ammunition if the person giving the ammo “has no reason to believe” the recipient “will use or intends to use the ammunition in a crime or … is prohibited from possessing ammunition under state or federal law.”

Bullet sales at shooting ranges and ammo sharing for the purpose of hunting, trapping or fishing is also exempted.

Florida law already prohibits people banned from purchasing or possessing a firearm from buying ammunition; however, there is no law on the books requiring vendors to run background checks on ammo purchases, rendering the law toothless.

“Jamie’s Law” would close that “loophole” by compelling ammo sellers to screen each sale and make any violation a third-degree felony punishable by up to $5,000 or five years in prison.

Boca Raton Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky is once more carrying the bill’s companion (SB 146) in the Legislature’s upper chamber. Polsky took over sponsorship of the item in late 2021 from Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who teamed up with Daley on the issue in the two prior Sessions.

Since Daley first filed the measure in October 2019, no iteration of the bill in either chamber has seen a committee hearing.

A graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who still lives in a community affected by the tragedy there, Daley said in a statement that he is “deeply committed” to ensuring something like it never happens again.

“That is why I have consistently sponsored and advocated for the passage of ‘Jaime’s Law’ for the past three Legislative Sessions,” he said, adding that 21 states now have extended background checks beyond federal requirements, and six require screenings on ammo sales.

“This bill is a step in the right direction and should receive bipartisan support.”

To bring further congruity between firearm and ammo sales, Daley and Polsky also again filed complementary legislation (SB 148, HB 153) ensuring the same rights to confidentiality Florida law provides private gun buyers extends to those purchasing ammunition. If passed, the twin bills would exempt private ammo purchases from public records requests, the same as is currently done for firearms.

“Deaths by gun violence continue to increase precipitously in America. In fact, gun violence recently surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death of our children in this country,” Polsky said in a statement. “We need to take every precaution we can to save lives. If guns require background checks, then so should the bullets that do the harm.”

If the Republican-dominated Legislature defies precedent and passes “Jamie’s Law” this year, it would mark the first time in half a decade that state lawmakers acted to constrict access to guns and gun-related materials.

In March 2018, then-Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-led Legislature approved the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Among other things, it raised the minimum age for assault-style rifle purchases from 18 to 21, implemented a three-day waiting period for gun purchases, banned bump stocks and added statutes allowing law enforcement to seize guns from dangerous individuals.

But some Parkland parents pushed for more, including background checks on ammunition, prompting Daley to propose the change at the state level and federal lawmakers like U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to do the same in Washington.

Like its state counterpart, the federal version of “Jaime’s Law” has similarly seen little progress since its 2019 filing.

Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father and a gun reform advocate, said the bills’ lack of movement defies logic and prudence.

“If someone is prohibited from buying a firearm, then it would only make sense they would also be prohibited from purchasing ammunition,” he said in a statement. “We must close this ammunition loophole, and this bill is a step in the right direction to do it.”

If recent movement in Tallassee is any indication, the Sunshine State will take a different tack. On the same day Daley and Polsky announced the refiling of “Jaime’s Law,” Republican Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson announced his first legislative proposal since taking office: a first-in-the-the-nation measure to prevent businesses from tracking Floridians’ firearm and ammo purchases.

Simpson, the immediate past Senate President whose influence may have stalled past iterations of the ammo-screening bills, unveiled the “Florida Arms and Ammo Act.” The proposed law aims to counter new international recording standards for payment transactions that include separate ID codes for firearm and ammo sales, a change that could make it easier to track people who buy guns and bullets.

The announcement came less than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis promised lawmakers will pass legislation this year granting all eligible residents constitutional carry rights, allowing them to tote concealed firearms without the need for a license or permit.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


5 comments

  • SteveHC

    January 10, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    “ Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father and a gun reform advocate, said the bills’ lack of movement defies logic and prudence.” – Seems to me the overwhelming majority of inhabitants of the Florida Statehouse “defy logic and prudence.”

    • Paul Passarelli

      January 10, 2023 at 11:22 pm

      Instead of punishing law abiding citizens, how about the Dumbocrats start by punishing those that commit actual crimes with mens rea? Call it t trial run.

      And for the Dems that don’t know what mens rea means, it means ‘with a guilty mind’ aka ‘a crime following deliberation and with intent’.

  • SteveHC

    January 11, 2023 at 12:00 am

    “ Instead of punishing law abiding citizens, how about the Dumbocrats start by punishing those that commit actual crimes with mens rea?” – They already do that. BTW – Well thought out legal and governmental regulation of guns and ammo is NOT “punishment,” just as the regulation of automobiles and drivers’ licences is not “punishment”. Only immature children and sociopaths believe they have a “natural” right to do as they please, for as far as they are concerned the universe revolves around THEM.

    • Paul Passarelli

      January 12, 2023 at 12:36 pm

      He if we ever happen to meet, I could demand that you produce an I-9 and a birth certificate to prooooove you are in the country legally, and if you fail to do so I should detain you and contact immigration. Is that right?

      I mean you are using an alias here. So that means you must be hiding *something*. I can reasonably extend my suspicion, based on your track record that you are/were/did do *something* unlawful, even if it was just a “hollywood stop” at an intersection.

      But I wouldn’t be “punishment” it would just be enforcing the “Well thought out legal and governmental regulation of…”

      Now who is the one that thinks the world needs to revolve around them, SteveHC?

  • Gus Simpson

    January 12, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Well that’s just it, this is not “well thought out.”
    Who exactly do you think is going to be the clearinghouse of these requests, the ones who will ultimately give the OK or not to purchase? How many ammunition purchases happen per day all over the state, and how much of a backlog do you expect it to create when we have zero infrastructure in place to do these checks?
    By the same reasoning you claim this is “not punishment,” we should also institute driver’s license/registration/insurance checks at every tool booth in the state since every driver is supposed to have those things and it isn’t punishment to demand they show what they’re supposed to have – right? Then we could demand photo ID checks for every single credit/debit card transaction in FL because only authorized users should be using those cards, and it isn’t “punishment” to make them produce a valid ID to prove they are who they claim to be.
    Do you see the silly rabbit hole this kind of thing leads too?

Comments are closed.


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