Bill lowering gun purchasing minimum age to 18 moving through House despite Senate resistance

Florida State Capitol Building
Democrats voiced opposition to changing the law, which had been enacted after the Parkland shooting.

The House gave a second reading to a bill (HB 1223) that would reverse gun control rules enacted after the Parkland shooting by lowering the minimum age to buy a gun from 21 to 18. But the Senate has already made clear these changes are dead on arrival.

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, who lives in Orlando — which had its own mass shooting in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub — lamented the fact that the House is continuing to push to undo parts of the bipartisan law passed after Parkland.

“I was very proud of this Legislature for coming together and supporting these measures, many of which, on both sides of the aisle, took political risk to do so,” Eskamani said. “I just can’t fathom the idea of regressing on this issue.”

But bill sponsor Rep. Bobby Payne, a Palatka Republican, argued that banning 18-year-olds from buying shotguns and rifles was unconstitutional since those teenagers can be charged as adults with felonies, sign contracts or join the military. They should be allowed to purchase guns too, he said.

“I’m doing this for the protection of those who are 18 to 21 years old, and those in rural areas like my area that like to use rifles and long guns,” Payne said. “The majority of people that purchase long guns are law-abiding citizens.” 

Democrats voiced opposition to changing the law that had been enacted after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Valentine’s Day in 2018, where a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 people with a AR-15 semiautomatic weapon. 

“Is there any concern about public safety?” Eskamani asked. “What’s the justification when it comes to the safety and prevention of mass shootings in our schools?”

Payne defended his bill, saying other safeguards were in place to protect students with the Marjory Stoneman School Safety Act. 

Eskamani also pushed Payne on whether it was wise to allow 18-year-olds access to guns, especially during a youth mental health crisis.

“Is this the right time to bring that age back to 18?” Eskamani asked.

“I could balance that question by saying, we’re seeing more acts of violence. We’re seeing people come across our border that we don’t have protections for,” Payne responded. “I’m doing this for the protection of those who are 18 to 21 years old, and those in rural areas like my area that like to use rifles and long guns. That’s what this bill is about — for sporting.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 3:15 pm

    Maybe lower the drinking age back to 18 so kids can blow off some steam by drinking some beer like when America was so great and kids didn’t shoot their schools up.

    Nah, lower the gun age to 18. That’ll fix it.

    Very proud FLgOP Legislators all say, “There I fixed it”
    They should be very very proud of themselves. What good boys.

  • No Resignations

    February 29, 2024 at 3:27 pm

    What is it with the G0P? Is it that G0P legislators cannot resign?

    Is that why they do the things that they do? They want out, but they are not allowed to resign?

    Are they counting on us voters to put them out? Reasonable people could totally infer that G0P legislators are counting on us voters to put them out.

    By all appearances, they’re practically begging to be put out of office and thus, the feel, their misery.

    Am I missing something? What am I missing?

    • Dumbocrats

      March 1, 2024 at 7:18 am

      A brain is what you are missing. If you want to live in a left wing utopia with other brain dead liberals, please move to California, New York or Illinois. You will find everything you are looking for and will be so happy there.

      • JD

        March 1, 2024 at 8:59 am

        And apparently they are leaving with what the FLGOP has created with the insurance and housing crisis.

        As of Feb 28th, 2024
        Florida had 202,000 properties listed
        New York—42,000

        Comparied to population differences:
        Texas is 7 MILLION more pop than FL
        CA Is almost double FL
        NY is 2 million less

        People are FLEEing the sunshine state. So why don’t you get the f@ck out so we start the clean up of the state?

      • No Resignations

        March 1, 2024 at 1:38 pm

        Agree. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I look at the G0P. I do not see evidence of so much as one brain.

        As far a moving goes, I’m happy. If you can’t stand seeing other people being happy, you move. To Russia.

  • cantfixstupido

    February 29, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    If the USA is willing to send a young man or woman of 18 years of age to WAR, they should be able to legally purchase a gun when they want to. Show some friggin respect. You can’t have it both ways.

    • Michael K

      March 1, 2024 at 10:31 am

      The armed forces train soldiers in the proper use of killing machines – and control their access. Huge difference, and false equivalence. Under this legislation, any 18-year-old idiot can buy an AR-15 and commit mass murder. But selling more guns is more important to our legislators than public safety. Thoughts and prayers is terrible public policy.

    • Dont Say FLA

      March 1, 2024 at 1:40 pm

      In most places these 18 year olds can drink beers, too. Shall we drop the drinking age to 18? Or even drop it to 0 like it is in most places? Government stays in its lane and leaves it to the parents to decide if their kids can drink?

  • Julia

    February 29, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    Earning $29,000. When you’re ready to give it some serious thought, start with some of the most respectable businesses that provide real work-from-home opportunities. In order to locate the ideal remote employment, ensure that the positions you apply for are affiliated with cz-05 reputable businesses.

    Look at this…………………………….

  • Michael K

    February 29, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    These people give guns more rights than women. I’d like to know how much money the gun manufacturing lobby is injecting into our Republican legislators and governor. We know Marco Rubio has sucked in more than $3.5 million.

    What’s another mass shooting at a school or church or Walmart? Just the price we pay for free-dumb. Insane.

  • JD

    March 1, 2024 at 9:03 am

    You mean like the drinking laws where it’s 21 in every state?

    That can be taken care of like drinking is, it’s up to the base commander (or used to be) if they allowed under 21 to drink there. Particularly overseas bases.

    The guns should be the same, they get guns when they’re on base – oh wait, they do.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 2, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    18 is far too old. Fetal Gun Rights NOW!

  • Joe

    March 4, 2024 at 12:07 pm

    Bobby Payne, like all elected RepubliQans, shows himself to be a tool of the NRA, and the eventual bloodshed that results from this bill will be on his hands.
    Assault rifles are not made for sporting, they are made for murder, and these craven cowards know that.

  • Profits are the Problem

    March 4, 2024 at 1:14 pm

    Assault rifles aren’t the problem. Malcontented humans with guns aren’t the problem Profits are the problem. Follow the money.

    The 2A guarantees the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    When a U.S. Citizen can’t afford a gun due to the seller’s and manufacturer’s profit margins, that is infringement.

    If corporations want to make and sell firearms and ammo and 2A related paraphernalia to US Citizens, the 2A demands those sales be made at cost.

    One penny of 2A related profit made on the back of a US Citizen, that is infringement. Pure and simple.

    Let 2A industry corporations make their profits selling to Israel and Ukraine and Russia and Gaza and other places with ongoing wars so they stop trying to make the USA into a war zone just to increase their own stock values, dividends, and their bottom lines.

Comments are closed.


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