Legislature shoots down bills to broaden gun safety requirements, background checks

Ghost gun Ap
The measure’s House sponsor says she will absolutely bring it back next year.

In something of a “Gunshine State” tradition, the GOP-controlled Legislature this year shot down proposals to strengthen safety strictures for Florida gun owners, ban untraceable weapons and boost court protections for at-risk family members.

Dubbed the “Responsible Gun Ownership Act,” the measure would have required universal background checks even in private sales, increased safe storage standards and expanded risk protections so residents could seek safeguards for family members they believe intend to break the law.

The legislation by Boca Raton Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky and Parkland Democratic Rep. Christine Hunschofsky would have also required serial numbers for so-called “ghost guns” — firearms sometimes made partially or entirely of 3D-printed plastic that can bypass metal detectors and many security scanning systems.

Both versions of the legislation (SB 518, HB 291) died without a hearing.

Hunschofsky said she’ll bring her bill back again for the 2025 Session. She was the Mayor of Parkland in 2018, when a former student fatally shot 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Last month, her Democratic House peers elected her to lead them in 2026.

Polsky said she is “likely” to re-run her bill as well.

In a prior interview with Florida Politics, Hunschofsky said she spoke with gun owners before filing HB 291 and received uniformly supportive feedback. She and Polsky carried the “ghost gun” component of the legislation in 2022 and 2023. The GOP-controlled Legislature ignored both of those efforts as well.

Hunschofsky this year also sponsored another measure (HB 1011) with Boynton Beach Democratic Rep. Joe Casello that would have made it a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, to threaten orally or in writing to commit a mass shooting act of terrorism.

The bill and its Senate analog by West Palm Beach Democrat Bobby Powell went unheard.

Polsky, meanwhile, sponsored a trio of other gun-related bills, none of which received a hearing. They included:

SB 180, which would require background checks on sales or transfers of ammunition. The legislation, which Coral Springs Democratic Rep. Dan Daley carried in the House, is named “Jaime’s Law” after Jaime Guttenberg, one of the teens killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

SB 176, which also aimed to tighten gun storage requirements. It included a new penalty for minors whose negligence enables other minors to access firearms and expanded the information gun sellers must provide when transferring a weapon. The bill had no House companion.

SB 912, which would have addressed Glock switches — inexpensive aftermarket handgun attachments that can turn the popular semiautomatic pistols into fully automatic weapons. The attachments, which can be made with 3D printers, are already outlawed in Florida. But Polsky’s bill, which also had no House companion, would have reclassified Glocks with automatic switches as machine guns, a change that would make possessing them a second-degree felony.

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.


  • Michael K

    March 13, 2024 at 9:33 am

    Yes – unfettered access to weapons of death. Guns above everything else to keep the gunmakers rich and happy, and the Republican legislator’s campaign chests full of blood mioney.

  • It's Complicated

    March 13, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    A more accurate headline would be:
    “GOP Ignores Democrat Gun Control Efforts”

    Never taking a bill up is not exactly shooting it down from a process standpoint. They could have easily put these bills on a committee agenda and killed them by vote, but they didn’t. THAT would be shooting them down.

    Re the Glock Switch (not made by or sanctioned by Glock, BTW), is already illegal to posses or use under federal law. Good for a 10-year stint in a federal pen.

  • Harris McWalter

    March 13, 2024 at 2:15 pm

    The “pro-life” party my azz.

Comments are closed.


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