Republicans Try to Throw Overboard Important Progress Made for Gun Safety in Florida

Florida - Republocans - Guns

Image via AP Photo/Phil Sears, file.

By Mivette Vega

March 15, 2023

The state’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved a bill that would reverse the 2018 law to reduce the age to purchase or transfer a long gun from 21 to 18 years old.

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House approved on Monday a bill that would lower the minimum age from 21 to 18 to buy rifles and other long guns in Florida.

The bill would reverse part of what was achieved with the 2018 law which increased the minimum age to 21 after a gunman killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

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The measure was introduced by Rep. Bobby Payne of (R-Palatka) and backed by  Speaker Paul Renner (R-D19). The GOP controlled House voted 12-5 to approve the bill. 

Under the 2018 law, people under 21 can receive rifles and other long guns as gifts but cannot purchase them.

Democrats opposed the bill and questioned why the legislature would reverse the law after five years. 

“I just find it, when we are having shooting after school shooting after school shooting, there are children who are dying in my district, and this gun violence is happening by 18-, 19- 20-year-olds, that we are slapping people in the face when we’re saying, well, let them go have a gun,” Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, D-St. Petersburg said.

After the Parkland tragedy, Florida’s congressmen Rick Scott and Marco Rubio promised the families of the victims that they would work on tougher laws against access to guns. But instead, it’s the Republicans who are pushing the measures.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has also argued that the 21-year-old minimum age violates the Second Amendment.

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According to The New York Times, Rubio has received $3.3 million from the NRA for his campaign in the past midterm elections.

In the current legislative session, a constitutional carry law that will allow Floridians to carry firearms without permits and training will be discussed. Gov. DeSantis supports that bill, despite strong opposition.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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