Kelly Skidmore believes Republicans will quietly oppose change to gun-buying age
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/7/23-Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, during the House Appropriations Committee, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'We often rely on our Senate colleagues to stop bad bills from happening,' Skidmore said. 'This might be one of those times.'

Democrats in the Legislature don’t want to lower the age for purchasing long guns. And secretly, they don’t think Republicans do either.

Rep. Kelly Skidmore, a Boca Raton Democrat, told the press she does not believe a majority of lawmakers want to revisit the gun-buying age.

“There are many conversations happening in offices all throughout the Capitol on the negative impact if such legislation as that passes,” Skidmore said.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act was signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2018, following a shooting at a Parkland school that left 17 dead. Among other changes, the law raised the age from 18 to 21 to purchase long guns. Shooter Nikolas Cruz, who has since been convicted of the murders, was 19 when he committed the crimes.

A federal appeals court has upheld the ban on purchases by 18- to 21-year-olds.

The issue may be moot. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo last week said the upper chamber won’t consider changing age limits for gun purchases. She opposed including that change in a permitless carry bill, and no Senate legislation has been filed on the matter.

But the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee has already advanced legislation (HB 1543) that would reduce the purchasing age. Only Democrats in the committee voted against the bill.

“We often rely on our Senate colleagues to stop bad bills from happening,” Skidmore said. “This might be one of those times.”

But she said many Republicans within the House quietly want a kibosh on the issue advancing in the lower chamber. Many just don’t want to publicly take a vote on such an issue.

House Democrats criticized measures expanding gun rights that are moving forward in both chambers. They argued the reason why Republicans are pushing the bills may be that they have a greater fear of the gun lobby than of deadly shootings.

Discussing the prospect of a permitless carry bill (HB 543) advancing in the House, Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell and Skidmore both told reporters that was an example of lawmakers “trading safety for an A+ NRA rating.”

Democrats have pushed alternative legislation (HB 1513) that seeks universal background checks on all gun ownership transfers. But that bill hasn’t been heard in any committee.

While sounding pessimistic about the prospects of stopping permitless carry, Skidmore said she expects the existing age limit to stand.

“Pressure is certainly being placed by family members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims and others in the state opposed to the age change,” Skidmore said. “That pressure will accelerate as Session goes on.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Richard Bruce

    March 20, 2023 at 11:03 am

    There are more crimes committed and deaths caused by under 21 drivers than by rifle owners. Why should the purchase age limit of rifles be changed?

    • Elliott Offen

      March 20, 2023 at 11:09 am

      Why does someone under 21 who is not in the military need to own an AR-15? Why does someone under 21 need a car? The synthesis of those two questions answered should give you a better understanding.

    • Rob Desantos

      March 20, 2023 at 3:22 pm

      Please cite your (imaginary) sources for that obviously false statement, Brucie. Also, please provide the data on gun vs car teen suicides.

  • Elliott Offen

    March 20, 2023 at 11:03 am

    Need campaign finance reform and anti-lobbying laws. The hogs will go away if there is no mountain of money to be made.

    • Rob Desantos

      March 20, 2023 at 1:08 pm

      The NRA is a terrorist organization, literally.

  • The Unvanquished Truth

    March 20, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    The gun buying age NEEDS TO STAY at 21 unless they are currently serving in the military! There is no reason for anyone to purchase a gun between the ages of 18-21 and they should not eligible for permitless carry or a CWP until the age of 21!

  • Earl Pitts American

    March 20, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    Skidmore is 100% correct;
    Passidomo and her cadre of fellow RINO Senate leadership are going to totally vote down any meaningful gun legislation. Ron and I, Earl Pitts American, have met with all of the powerbrokers in the Florida Senate and determined those RINO’s are a clear and present danger to every citizen of Florida.
    More importantly we have determined exactly who is at fault and to blaim for this dispicable back stabbing job that is happening to our citizens.
    Its the voters down in South Florida that did the back stabbing by electing these RINO’s. Voters of South Florida be ashamed and do better.
    Totally NOT Ron’s fault, totally NOT Earl Pitts Ametican’s fault.
    Voters of South Florida: DO BETTER!
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Rob Desantos

    March 20, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Note these sponsor names: Payne and Sirois (CO-SPONSORS) Andrade; Barnaby; Black; Brackett; Brannan; Fine; Gregory; Jacques; Leek; Massullo; Plakon; Roach; Rommel; Rudman; Salzman; Yarkosky

    These NRA-owned patsies want more kids killed by guns in Florida.

Comments are closed.


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