Senator Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach) and Representative Richard Stark (D-Weston) are filing legislation in order to close a glaring weakness in Florida’s “red flag” gun safety law, threatening the lives of potential victims throughout the state. On Thursday, both legislators held a press conference announcing the goals of the bill.
SB 764 (House Bill pending) would enhance the legislation that was passed following the shooting tragedy last year in Parkland. Under the proposed legislation, family members would be allowed to petition a court directly to temporarily restrict someone’s access to guns when they are a threat to themselves or others. SB 7026 from 2018 sidelined family members who often are the first to spot such violent tendencies.
Second, the bills add a prohibition that a legal occupant of the household must store a firearm safely if there is knowledge that another person in the household is prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm. A violation of the “safe storage” promise is a second degree misdemeanor.
Lastly, the legislation adds reporting requirements totaling the number of RPOs issued and denied in each year, including ex parte RPOs. This data would be compiled by each county Clerk of Court and shared with the Office of State Court Administrator (OSCA).
“As mass shootings have become so tragically commonplace in our society, it is imperative that we, as a legislature, do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people in danger, especially those who pose a threat to others or themselves during a serious or suicidal mental health crisis,” said Senator Berman. “This legislation gives family members a pathway to seek help and not watch in despair. The bill we passed last year was a great start but we have the obligation to do more.”
“This enhanced Risk Protection Order will finally give spouses and family members the tools to intervene before a loved one commits an act of gun violence or self-harm,” said Representative Stark. “This bill is a huge step forward in our fight to prevent gun violence and keep our families and communities safe. I’m proud to co-sponsor this important bill.”