Republican lawmakers are pushing back against a bill filed on Monday that would require background checks on Floridians purchasing ammunition.
The bill, known as “Jaime’s Law,” is named in honor of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people tragically killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. The measure (HB 25), filed by Democrat Dan Daley, is the same bill he filed during the 2020 Legislative Session. That legislation never made it to the House floor.
Daley, a Stoneman Douglas graduate who represents House District 97, says the bill would apply to all sales of ammunition in the state and would close what gun control advocates call the “ammunition loophole.”
“As a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, nothing is more important to me than preventing another tragedy like what our community experienced from ever happening again. Jaime’s Law is a huge step in the right direction towards ensuring that weapons and ammunition stay out of dangerous hands. It’s also common sense and does not restrict the rights of legal gun owners. If someone walks into a bar and orders a beer, a bartender is required by law to ask for their ID. Why isn’t a vendor required by law to ensure that someone seeking to purchase ammunition is legally allowed to do so?” said Daley.
Currently in Florida, those prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm are prohibited from purchasing ammunition. The bill would not impact police officers or those with concealed gun permits.
Today, I re-filed Jaime’s Law in honor of 14 year old Jaime Guttenberg, who tragically lost her life in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Jaime’s Law seeks to close the ammo loophole by requiring background checks on ammunition purchases. pic.twitter.com/Lz2AhFRJTr
— Dan Daley (@DanDaley) November 30, 2020
The proposal has received broad support from Democrats in the Florida House and Senate. The bill was also endorsed by Fred Guttenberg, a gun reform advocate and father of Jaime Guttenberg.
“With approximately 400,000,000 weapons already on the streets, we must make it harder for those who intend to kill to do so,” said Guttenberg.
“Prohibited purchasers of weapons are also prohibited from buying ammunition, but there is no mechanism in place to keep that ammunition out of their hands. We must close this ammunition loophole and this bill is a step in the right direction to do it. Jaime’s Law will help save lives immediately.”
Thank you @DanDaley. I am truly thankful that today you refiled Jaime’s Law to close the ammunition loophole in Florida. When passed, Jaime’s Law will immediately save lives. I look forward to working with you to pass this. https://t.co/J6Q6fI0ORF
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) November 30, 2020
But Republicans, who currently hold the majority in both chambers, say the bill doesn’t address the real issue and would only punish responsible gun owners.
Anthony Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican who recently filed a bill in the House (HB 6001) that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry on campus, says Daley’s refiling for the 2021 Legislative Session would expand the role of government and infringe on individuals’ rights.
“It is an absolutely terrible, ineffective, and unnecessary anti-Second Amendment Bill that will result in putting innocent people in jail and creating a hugely expanded police-state with hundreds of new government employees to oversee it,” Sabatini told The Captiolist.
Newly elected House official, Joe Harding, agreed, saying legislation like Daley’s is why he decided to step into the political arena.
“Bills like this are exactly why I walked doors all over the state this summer to help elect as many Republican colleagues as possible,” said the Republican who represents Levy and Marion counties. “The left is unrelenting to take away our most fundamental liberty and freedom to protect ourselves. I will fight like hell for the next 8 years to make sure bills like this don’t see the light of day.”
While Daley is hopeful that 2021’s version of the bill will pass, State Representative Spencer Roach says there’s no chance his measure will see the light of day.
“There is no ‘ammunition loophole,'” said the retired JAG Officer. “Florida law already prohibits the possession of ammunition by those who are also legally prohibited from possessing a firearm. This bill is yet another failure to grasp the simple logic that criminals do not follow firearms laws in the first place, meaning that this bill will only serve to penalize law-abiding American citizens who simply want to protect themselves and defend their families.
“Jaime Guttenberg was failed by the ill-conceived ‘Promise Program,’ an incompetent Sheriff, and most of all by coward-cop Scot Peterson, who hid in a stairwell for 48 minutes while 34 people he took a sworn oath to protect were gunned down in a “gun-free” zone,” he continued.
“This bill did not get a hearing last year, and this year we have increased our majority by five in the House and one in the Senate, for a total of six more Republicans committed to protecting the Second Amendment. It has even less of a chance of getting heard this year. But if it does, you can bet I will oppose this attempt to chip away at the ability of citizens to protect themselves and defend their families.”
More than 100 gun control bills and a dozen other gun rights bills were introduced by Florida lawmakers prior to the 2020 legislative session.
None were adopted, and only two advanced to committee.