Broward lawmakers want to close ammunition ‘loophole’ in Florida law

State Sen. Lauren Book, a South Florida Democrat. Florida Channel screenshot

Two Broward County Democratic lawmakers want to close a loophole in state law that allows anyone to purchase ammunition without undergoing a background check.

Under existing law, anyone purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer must undergo a background check. The gun sale can be blocked if the background check determines the purchaser is a convicted felon, has been involved in a domestic violence case, or has a mental illness.

The sales prohibition also applies to the purchase of ammunition. But if only ammunition is being bought, a background check is not required.

State Sen. Lauren Book and state Rep. Dan Daley want that changed.

“Background check laws are one of the few gun control measures almost universally supported across both sides of the aisle,” Book said in a written statement.

She says her bill (SB 460) is “a commonsense solution to ensure those who are already legally prohibited from purchasing firearms are unable to purchase ammunition to fill those firearms.”

Daley says his bill (HB 289) “is a huge step in the right direction towards ensuring that weapons and ammunition stay out of dangerous hands.”

“It’s also common sense. If someone walks into a bar and orders a drink, a bartender is required by law to ask for their ID to ensure they are legally allowed to drink. Why isn’t a vendor required by law to ensure that someone wishing to purchase ammunition is legally allowed to do so?” Daley said.

If passed by the 2020 Legislature and approved by the governor, the legislation will become known as “Jaime’s Law.” It is named after Jaime Guttenberg, a 14-year-old victim in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

The legislation has the support of Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father.

“We must close this ammunition loophole and this bill is a step in the right direction to do it. Jaime’s Law will help save lives immediately,” Guttenberg said.

The 2020 session begins Jan. 14.

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