Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) is sponsoring legislation to strengthen background checks around gun sales in the State of Florida. Following yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee tasked with responding to Florida’s mass shootings, Chair Tom Lee (R- Thonotosassa) declared expanding background checks “makes sense.” Preceding a Session where “nothing’s off the table” when it comes to gun law reforms, according to Senate President Bill Galvano, Book’s bill — filed earlier this summer — could have major implications for Florida gun laws.
“Ninety percent of Americans support strengthening background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of those who simply should not have them,” says Senator Book, whose district encompasses Coral Springs and other communities affected by the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. “Florida has suffered more than our fair share of gun violence and bloodshed. We need to be doing more to keep our communities safer – and this is a no-brainer.”
Book’s bill, SB 94, would close the “gun show loophole” that allows private sellers to skirt state and federal laws requiring background checks. Under SB 94, private sellers that wish to sell or transfer a firearm would need to process the sale though a licensed firearm dealer as an intermediary. This would apply to online sales as well. The bill allows the licensed dealer to collect a fee and provides for some logical exceptions such as using a firearm for sporting purposes at a gun range, lawfully hunting with the owner of the firearm, or the inheritance of a firearm by an immediate family member.
The lone legislative member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, Book has been a central figure in the State of Florida’s gun debate. Book worked with now-March for Our Lives leader Jaclyn Corin to bring 100 Parkland students to the Florida Capitol in the immediate days following the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting, coordinating trips to the site of the massacre with House and Senate leadership, and studying every facet of the shooting as part of the MSD Commission and offering recommendations to the legislature for policy change. While the Commission has focused on school safety to this point, community safety will also be a part of the Commission’s scope during upcoming meetings.