Push to rectify post-Parkland mistake dead for session

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

In the wake of Parkland, the state of Florida enacted a number of measures. People were angry and upset and demanded lawmakers “do something.”

So, they did.


Unsurprisingly, a knee-jerk reaction doesn’t actually accomplish anything, it just creates new problems.

One of those measures, for example, forbids the sale of long guns to anyone under the age of 21. Since federal law prohibits these same people from buying handguns, these law-abiding adults cannot exercise their Second Amendment rights at all.

Florida had a chance to fix that mistake. It seems they won’t be doing it this year, though.

You still must be 21 to buy a long gun.

Florida’s minimum gun-buying age will remain at 21 years old.

A proposal to return the minimum age to 18 is officially dead this year. The House in April passed a bill (HB 1543) on a 69-36 vote that would have reduced the purchase age for rifles and long guns. But no such legislation was ever filed in the Senate, and the clock has run out on the bill finding another vehicle to reach the Senate floor.

Gun safety advocates cheered the proposal’s demise.

“The Florida bill to lower the age to 18 to buy a gun in Florida is dead! As I said from the beginning of Session,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Parkland Democrat. “The Marjory Stoneman Douglas School safety bill that I helped pass five years ago remains intact.”

A debate over gun rights unfolded this Session less than five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a law, the one sponsored by Moskowitz, that raised the age in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

Gun control activists have tried to argue that they haven’t had a school shooting since the law was passed, which means the law works as intended.


However, they have had school shootings, just not school mass shootings. What’s more, it wasn’t like they had a pile of them before the law was passed.

In other words, the lack of something happening when it was a rare occurrence before Parkland and the laws that followed isn’t exactly compelling evidence that the law is doing what it was intended to do.

What it has done, though, is make it more impossible for many law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

It hasn’t stopped the next Parkland from happening. The next Parkland just hasn’t been planned yet, which is unfortunate, but that’s just the way things go.

Florida can and should repeal this law. Of all the measures they passed back then, this is probably the most egregious and the one most in need of repeal.

Now, in the Sunshine State’s defense, they did get permitless carry passed, though even that has been nerfed somewhat by the fact that open carry still isn’t permissible. Still, ground was made there, even if it wasn’t ideal.

This one, though? This one should have been easy. Apparently, it wasn’t as easy as some of us might have thought.

There’s always next year, though.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member