Senate shooting down gun age change

by | Feb 1, 2024

The Florida Senate is expected to reject a proposal for the second consecutive year that seeks to lower the minimum age for purchasing rifles and shotguns from 21 to 18, continuing the age restriction set after the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

For the second year in a row, the Florida Senate appears poised to reject a proposal that would lower the minimum age from 21 to 18 to purchase rifles and shotguns in the state.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said Thursday that the Senate does not have a bill on the issue and that it is a “non-starter.” The comments came two days after the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved a bill (HB 1223) that would reverse an age requirement included in a school safety law that passed after the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The House approved a bill last year to lower the minimum age from 21 to 18, but the Senate did not take up the issue. Federal law prohibits people under 21 from purchasing handguns.

The Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott, now a U.S. senator, approved increasing the age to 21 for rifles and other long guns after Nikolas Cruz, then 19, killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Cruz, who has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders, used a semi-automatic rifle to carry out the attack. The law drew a legal challenge from the National Rifle Association, which contends that it violates Second Amendment rights.

A federal district judge upheld the age restriction, but the case remains pending at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


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