Cybersecdn- In a move that has sparked significant debate, Florida State Senator Jonathan Martin has proposed a bill (SB 1124) aimed at eliminating the statewide three-day waiting period for purchasing rifles and shotguns. This proposal, introduced as the state prepares for its legislative session starting January 9, seeks to overturn one of the measures put in place following the tragic Parkland mass shooting.
The bill intends to maintain the waiting period for handgun purchases while removing it for rifles and shotguns. Senator Martin’s objective is to alleviate prolonged delays for law-abiding citizens awaiting background checks. However, it’s noted that such extended delays are rare, with 98% of transactions typically resolved quickly.
Critics, including Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former Orlando Democratic state representative, express alarm over the bill. They argue that eliminating the waiting period could lead to impulsive purchases of potentially dangerous weapons, such as AR-15 rifles, which have been used in numerous mass shootings.
Supporters of the existing law underscore its role in reducing suicides and homicides, citing studies indicating a significant decrease in gun homicides due to waiting periods. Groups like the National Rifle Association challenge the effectiveness of waiting periods, contending that they primarily burden law-abiding gun owners without affecting how criminals acquire firearms.
‘Florida lawmakers want to end 3-day waiting periods for rifles, shotguns’
As a child advocacy group in Charleston, we strongly oppose reopening the Charleston Loophole linked to the 2015 Mother Emanuel massacre.
These bills are life-threatening.https://t.co/DsyB6bA6MQ
— Their Future. Our Vote. (@Their__Future) December 30, 2023
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Historically, Florida voters have shown support for waiting periods. In 1990, a constitutional amendment mandating a three-day waiting period for handguns was approved by 84.5% of voters. A subsequent amendment in 1998 allowed counties to extend this waiting period to five days for any firearm purchase, including rifles and shotguns.
The Parkland school shooting in 2018, which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and staff, led to the imposition of a statewide three-day waiting period for long guns and an increase in the minimum age for rifle purchases from 18 to 21.
This proposal comes amidst other significant legislative changes in Florida’s gun laws, including the recent elimination of permit requirements for carrying a concealed weapon in public. The debate over this bill is set against a backdrop of national conversations about gun control, public safety, and Second Amendment rights, reflecting the complexity and divisiveness of firearm legislation in the United States.