A state lawmaker filed a bill on Monday that would require background checks for ammunition buyers, after the same bill failed in committee in the 2020 legislative session.
Known as “Jaime’s Law,” the proposal honors Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
State Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, and a Stoneman Douglas graduate, first filed the bill in the 2020 legislative session. It never made it to the House floor.
“Our hope this year is to get a hearing,” he said. “Last year, it never saw the light of day.”
The proposal would apply to all sales of ammunition if it becomes law and would close what gun control advocates refer to as the ammunition loophole, Daley said.
This year’s bill does not have a sponsor in the state Senate.
Current law prohibits someone who can’t buy or possess a firearm from purchasing ammunition. But ammunition vendors aren’t required to run background checks on those buying bullets to make sure they’re allowed to do so.
Background checks are required for some firearms purchasers, but nothing prevents anyone from buying ammunition.
In Florida, you can’t legally own or have a firearm if you’ve been convicted of a felony, if you’re under a domestic violence restraining order, or if you’re deemed a “violent career criminal.” You also can’t legally own or have a firearm if you’re the subject of an extreme risk protection order under the state’s red flag law, which a judge can issue for people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.
Jaime’s Law would not restrict the rights of legal gun owners, Daley said. And there are exemptions for people who buy ammunition at shooting ranges or hunting camps and intend to use it at those places.
People who pass the background check when they buy ammunition would be exempt from public records requirements, meaning information about who bought or transferred ammunition would not be available publicly.
“It’s not the ‘we’re coming to take your guns’ everyone seems to think it is,” he said. “We’re trying to be as reasonable as possible while getting to the root of the issue — a bad guy with a gun can walk into a store and buy as much ammunition as you like.”
Prospects aren’t great for passage of such a bill. The Florida Legislature has generally been friendly to gun owners and hostile to restrictions.
Daley and other advocates for gun control, including Jaime’s father Fred Guttenberg, said the legislation is a step in the right direction. Guttenberg has become a prominent advocate against gun violence since his daughter was killed.
“With approximately 400,000 weapons already on the streets, we must make it harder for those who intend to kill to do so,” Guttenberg said. “Jaime’s Law will help save lives immediately.”
Sun Sentinel staff writer Anthony Man contributed to this report.
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