TAMPA, Fla. — Since the Parkland massacre, there have unfortunately been several more mass shootings, putting pressure on state lawmakers to do something to curb the violence.
In Florida, conservative state senators looked like they were ready to pass a bill that would require mandatory background checks by closing the so-called "gun show loophole."
But now, it looks like even that bill is losing momentum.
Following back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton Ohio, state lawmakers came under pressure to do more.
Their answer was a bill that would close Florida’s so-called gun show loophole and mandate background checks on firearm sales, even between individuals and not just gun dealers.
“There’s people that buy guns at the gun show that couldn’t pass a background check and don’t need them,” said gun owner Jim Hardwick, who supports the bill.
“It’s just as easy as walking down the street and getting it from your local gangster,” added Michael Trumfio, who also supports the idea.
But this week, the bill sponsored by conservative Republican Senate President Bill Galvano, stalled under political pressure from those who don’t want to touch a Second Amendment issue during an election year.
Florida’s NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer called it, “The worst universal background check language I’ve ever seen.“
“The problem I have it with it is really just closing the loophole for people that more than likely are gun law-abiding citizens," said gun owner Paul Newman,
“It is very clear that it’s an uphill battle. It’s difficult even within the chamber, but it’s even more difficult across the way and from the plaza level,” said Galvano.
There has been support for similar legislation at the federal level.
U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan-(R) Sarasota, says he was one of eight Republicans who voted for a bill that would close the gun show loophole, which was considered perhaps the single gun issue with bipartisan support.
“You know, it might get reenacted or get done in the last week or so. You know there’s a lot of things when session gets ready to end. They deal with a budget but there’s other things that get done as well,” said Buchanan.
Proponents of the bill say it’s a sad cycle. Mass shootings happen, lawmakers promise to take action, and months later when the shock has worn off, politics undermines their effort.
In this case though, it might not matter.
Even if the bill were to regain traction, there’s been a notable lack of support from Governor Ron DeSantis, who would ultimately have to sign the loophole bill for it to ever become law.
At first, it seemed like the gun show loophole bill has a solid chance. It passed unanimously through a committee during the first week of the legislative session.
But, it hasn’t budged for close to a month now.
“To me, you can close it all you want,” said Newman, “But you’re never going to stop gun violence because criminals don’t care about the laws.”
“I’m a Republican,” said Hardwick, “But I still believe they should increase the background checks and make them a little stronger."
What other people are reading right now:
- Missing SC 6-year-old Faye Swetlik found dead
- Dental assistant accused of sexually assaulting patient
- Sheriff: Winter Haven woman scammed more than 60 people out of $1.6 million
- China accused of censoring journalists, critical information about coronavirus
- Video: Speeding car catapults off neighborhood roundabout
- Snakes congregating in Lakeland are just there to mate
- He's been missing since 2000, making him the longest-running Amber Alert in the state