Florida House Subcommittee Approves Lowering Age for Firearms Purchases

Florida Considers Lowering Age for Purchasing Firearms

A bill that would lower the age for purchasing certain firearms from 21 to 18 has been approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in Florida. This move challenges the existing age limit set following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting.

The legislation aims to revise the current age limit established by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act of 2018, which was enacted in response to the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people. The act raised the firearm purchasing age and introduced other gun control measures, such as a bump stock ban and a waiting period for firearm purchases.

If the bill is enacted, individuals aged 18 and over would be able to purchase long guns from both federal firearms licensees and private sellers. However, the federal law that prohibits federally licensed dealers from selling handguns to those under 21 would remain unchanged. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Republican Representatives Bobby Payne and Tyler Sirois, passed the committee with a vote of 11-5.

Proponents of the bill argue that reducing the age limit to 18 is crucial for young adults, especially in rural areas, where activities like hunting are common. They draw parallels to age limits for various responsibilities and rights, emphasizing the importance of restoring the rights of young adults.

However, the bill has faced significant opposition, including from former Governor Rick Scott, who enacted the existing age limit. During a press conference, Scott expressed his support for the current legislation and highlighted the importance of the measures previously passed in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Opponents of the bill, such as Representative Michele Rayner, have raised concerns about public safety and the maturity of younger individuals purchasing firearms. They question the compelling state interest behind the proposed legislation and express uncertainty about prioritizing an 18-year-old’s right to own a gun over the safety of children.

The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration. It is unclear whether Governor Ron DeSantis supports the legislation, and a Senate companion bill has not yet been filed.

Main Points:

    1. A bill to lower the age for purchasing certain firearms from 21 to 18 has been approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in Florida.
    1. The proposed legislation aims to revise the age limit established by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act of 2018, which was enacted following the school shooting in Parkland.
    1. If enacted, the bill would allow individuals aged 18 and over to purchase long guns from federal firearms licensees and private sellers.

In conclusion, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in Florida has approved a bill that would lower the age for purchasing certain firearms from 21 to 18. This legislation challenges the existing age limit set in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting.

Proponents argue that the change is important for young adults, particularly in rural areas where hunting is common. However, opponents express concerns about public safety and the maturity of younger individuals purchasing firearms. The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration, and it remains to be seen whether Governor Ron DeSantis supports the legislation.

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