Florida Senate Committee Passes GOP-Backed Universal Background Check Bill

florida senator galvano

Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Florida now officially has a Republican-backed universal background check bill in play.

Sen. Tom Lee of the Senate’s Committee on Infrastructure and Security brought up SPB 7028 yesterday. The committee is made up of eight members, five Republicans and three Democrats. The committee voted unanimously for SPB 7028 and passed the proposal except for one Senator who walked out, making it an official bill.

I was unable to attend in person due to pressing family issues, but the NRA was there, represented by Marion Hammer. Moms Demand Action members were there, too.

You can click here for the video of the entire committee meeting.

This bill is Senate President Galvano’s pride and joy. As I noted earlier, Sen. Galvano tasked Sen. Tom Lee to look at ways to “stop mass shootings.” This is the result.

It started as a proposed committee bill. That means it wasn’t introduced by a single Senator and instead was the creation of the committee itself. The glossary of the FL State Senate states a proposed committee bill is a “proposal that may represent a mandated review, repeal scheduled by law, or, with the Senate President’s prior approval, an additional subject of broad committee significance as determined by the committee chair. When the idea is expanded, is drafted in bill form, receives a favorable vote by the committee, and is filed, it becomes a bill.

SPB 7028:

PROPOSED BILL by Infrastructure and Security

Public Safety; Requiring emergency medical technicians and paramedics to disclose certain confidential communications to law enforcement agencies to communicate a threat under certain circumstances; requiring specified licensees, rather than psychiatrists, to disclose certain confidential communications to law enforcement agencies to communicate a threat under certain circumstances; authorizing a person who is not a licensed importer, a licensed manufacturer, or a licensed dealer and who chooses to not use a licensed importer, a licensed manufacturer, or a licensed dealer to facilitate a private sale of his or her firearm to sell the firearm if he or she complies with specified requirements, etc.

This bill does the following.

  • Requires that during a private sale, the seller would be required to check the person’s ID to make sure they’re legally allowed to own the weapon and fill out a form recording the transaction.
  • The form would include a list of questions for the buyer, such as whether they’re a felon, a fugitive from justice, or have anything else in their history that would prevent them from owning a gun. The seller would then confirm that they have “no knowledge or reason to believe that the purchaser is of unsound mind.” The form would have to be witnessed and signed by a notary public, but the bill doesn’t require the seller to do anything with the form.
  • Sen. Lee said it would be in the seller’s “best interests” to hold on to the form indefinitely, “should this weapon ultimately get used in the commission of a crime.”
  • Not filling out the forms would be a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
  • Requires that loaded firearms be securely stored to prevent anyone under the age of 18 from accessing them. The current age in the law is 16. The penalty is still a second-degree misdemeanor, carrying up to 60 days in jail.
  • Requires that loaded firearms also be kept securely stored to prevent anyone of “unsound mind” from accessing them. The penalty is also second-degree misdemeanor.
  • Requires paramedics and other emergency medical workers to report to police people who are a danger to themselves or the public. The provision currently exists for mental health workers.
  • Assigns the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with creating a statewide “threat assessment” system to prevent active shooters and assigns the department 37 full-time positions and nearly $6 million.

SPB 7028 passed over the strong objections of the NRA’s Hammer (NRA), who called it . . .

“nothing less than gun control on steroids.” – Tampa Bay Times

The Committee Chair, Sen. Tom Lee answered this way . . .

“I empathize that any time somebody breaks the law, we come in and pass something, and law-abiding citizens are imposed upon. I get it, this committee bill is our best effort to try to improve public safety on the margins here, it is not a perfect system. I know that you don’t see NRA members in the headlines of these mass shootings. But we have a job to do. We can’t just sit by idly while our children are killing children and pretend this isn’t happening.” – Tampa Bay Times

When the bill came to a vote, Sen. Aaron Bean (R) walked out while rest of the committee voted unanimously to forward the bill to the Senate floor.

This bill lacks a companion measure in the House. Sen. Lee said House leaders are “well aware we’re working on this.” since this is a Senate measure and is Senate President Galvano’s top priority.

Sen. Galvano, by the way, took $200,000 from Michael Bloomberg last year.

As for getting a bill going in the House, Sen. Lee stated . . .

“Frankly, a lot of this is going to happen president-to-speaker and work down from there. But they’re very well aware that this is a priority for the president.” – WUSF Public Media

Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed a lack of support for the bill.

DeSantis appeared skeptical of the proposal to close the gun-show “loophole” by requiring background checks and a three-day waiting period for firearms sold at gun shows, saying screenings are already being performed by “anyone selling firearms at any of those tables.”

Additionally, it appears that Speaker of the House Jose Oliva isn’t a fan of Sen. Galvano’s and Michael Bloomberg’s love child either.

Oliva seemed even more dubious, telling reporters that the House is “always very careful when we in any way start to infringe on those things that people consider their constitutional rights.”

“If you talked to the sheriffs around the state, they will tell you that our red-flag laws that we passed before they were even named red-flag laws after Parkland have already saved lives. These are the areas that we have to be looking to. There is no proof that a person’s ability to get a weapon affects their ability to use it. And so we have to be very careful when we once again look to trample on people’s constitutional rights,” Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, said. – CBS 12 News West Palm Beach

Sen. Galvano is of course defending his political homunculus.

When asked about the difficulty in reaching a compromise on the always-thorny issue of guns, given the positions expressed by Oliva and DeSantis, Galvano acknowledged that “a give and take” exchange of ideas is part of the legislative process.

“And it’s incumbent upon the sponsors of bills and members of bodies to explain and to make the correct arguments,” Galvano said. “If you would have said to me three years ago that we were going to do what we did two years ago in the wake of Parkland, I would have said, boy, that’s going to be a really difficult lift in the Legislature I’ve lived in for many, many years.”- CBS 12 News West Palm Beach

We’ll be watching how far this gun rights disaster gets. Stay tuned.

comments

  1. Background checks for retail sales do have a purpose, a purpose served even if no person who failed a background check is prosecuted for attempted criminal procurement of a firearm.

    Like all public accommodations, gun stores are subject to anti-discrimination laws.

    Now, consider a case where a young black man dressed in gang colors walks up to a store and asks to purchase a handgun.

    If the store sells the handgun, and it is later used in a drive-by shooting resulting in murder, the store can be sued for selling a handgun to a person they should have known was a gang member.

    If the store refuses the sale, a lawyer will visit the store the next day, with a copy of a court complaint for unlawful racial discrimination.

    Even if background checks were allowed (but not mandated), the young black man could still argue that the store only runs background checks on black customers.

    When background checks are mandatory, the store can say its hands were tied when the customer failed the background check. (If the store had the habit of running background checks on black customers, but skipping the background check for white customer, it would face much worse legal consequences than a racial discrimination lawsuit).

    This purpose does not apply at all to private sales, which are not subject to anti-discrimination laws.

    1. avatar Biatec says:

      I disagree that infringing on the Constitution is okay to prevent the abuse of lawsuits.

      Not selling to someone dressed in gang colors, tattoos hair cut or any other indicators is not racist or considered discrimination.

      Background checks don’t do anything and you are justifying them for a purpose they are not even supposed to be used for? I don’t get this mentality.

    2. avatar Mercury says:

      A good argument, but based on a flawed premise. FFLs are legally required, in so many words, to deny the sale of a firearm to anyone that they, for any reason, feel intends to use it in a crime. This includes “gut feeling” and that very defense is a “case dismissed, pay their legal fees, you frivolous plaintiff” as a matter of repeated precedent.

      1. Is there any case law supporting that?

        Because requiring gun dealers to reject a sale due to “gut feelings” has equal protection implications. As the Supreme court held in Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429 (1984) “Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect.” 466 U.S. at 433. This law would actually require people to act on private biases, which goes against Palmore.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Michael,

      If the store sells the handgun, and it is later used in a drive-by shooting resulting in murder, the store can be sued for selling a handgun to a person they should have known was a gang member.

      If the store refuses the sale, a lawyer will visit the store the next day, with a copy of a court complaint for unlawful racial discrimination.

      That is a feature, not a defect.

    4. avatar anonymous says:

      “If the store refuses the sale, a lawyer will visit the store the next day, with a copy of a court complaint for unlawful racial discrimination.”

      An FFL has the right to refuse any sale for any reason. The ATF has made it quite clear in the past that they will defend in court any FFL that is accused of discrimination, because federal law gives FFL’s a great deal of leeway in choosing who they do or do not sell to.

      As always the second amendment is the exception to all the rules, it is the only constitutional right that is taxed, requires a permit, and is apparently exempt from all discrimination laws as well. Because guns.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-06-17/dealers-choice-gun-store-owners-can-deny-anyone-they-want%3fcontext=amp

    5. avatar arc says:

      FFLs can refuse sale for any reason. If the customer doesn’t like that then they can find another FFL.

    6. avatar Texican says:

      Except gun stores can and do refuse to sell to people all the time. It is one of the few retail outlets that can refuse to sell to anyone for any reason they want whether the customer passes the background check or not. So if a gun store doesn’t like the cut of your jib they will tell you we aren’t going to sell you a gun. And there is no legal recourse for someone who is denied that purchase.

  2. avatar Specialist38 says:

    DeSantis has evidently never been to a gun show.

    Plenty of private sales at guns shows.

    I certainly don’t support this bill but we need to make sure we stick to facts.

    There are private sales at guns shows.

    1. avatar Luis Valdes says:

      A number of Counties in FL bar private sales at Gun Shows.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        So, you have to walk outside?

        1. avatar Mercury. says:

          Off the property more like. But would you leave your table (hope you brought a buddy) and go for a long walk with a dude you know only one thing about, which is that he wants your gun? For that matter, a seller is going to want to see your cash before you head out, so would you go for a long walk with a guy you know only in that he has a table at the gun show, after flashing a stack of hundreds. It’s a wildly impractical notion, and violates the “stupid people, stupid places, stupid things” rule of personal safety. That alone is the reason it isn’t further restricted. It doesn’t have to be, and any more restriction would just make the total ban endgame more obvious.

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        I don’t doubt that.

        I imagine the exception to rule and predominately in the New York and New Jersey Territories locates in Southern Florida.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Not relevant/SO WHAT.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        The governor – who is against the bill – made a false statement (hopefully in ignorance).

        So it is important.

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Does FL have a registry? If so, shame on them is far overdue. If not, this law is unenforceable, since nobody knows where a specific gun is now, much less who sold it to whom. I’ve never seen that gun before, why are you talking to me?

    1. avatar Luis Valdes says:

      Currently Statute 790.335 is a prohibition of registration of firearms via electronic records. If UBC passes, the repeal of 790.335 is the next step.

      1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

        No one will know… Until they do. You sell a gun to a buddy, he sells to someone at work, that person leaves it in the car overnight and it is stolen. Perp uses it, police find it, ATF trace, they go back through the last gun shop or dealer records, oh you bought it, did you sell it, do you have your form?

        Or you sell to someone, they get into mess with the law or get red flagged, trace, where did gun come from, that person points to you. Again, where is your form?

        Guess we need to go “Virginia” on our Florida Republicrats, thanks a lot traitors.

  4. avatar Ing says:

    So they’re finally closing the Yard Sale loophole. It’s long past time we stopped people taking stuff out of their houses and selling it, as if they owned it.

    1. avatar ChoseDeath says:

      😂😂 You tell em ING! Private Property, what a bourgeois notion.

  5. avatar Casey says:

    It’s a give and take, huh? Could someone point out to me the “give” part?

    “Take”ing less then you WANT to take isn’t compromising, it’s just frog-boiling.

    1. avatar ChoseDeath says:

      Preach it! Our individual Liberties and Rights are the beach, and these scared little Authoritarians are the lapping of the tide, slowly eating sand away like a cancer, until naught is left but an ever rising tide seeking to inundate us all.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      Yep, give and take. They take, we give. Over and over and over.

      I find it very interesting that they’re willing to threaten several *million* innocent people with violence…in the name of preventing violence. That’s really what it all comes down to. If you disobey, lawyers and police will *make* you pay the penalty. Or haul you away. All of it at gunpoint.

      So freedom. Much right. Very safety.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        I’m tired of being Give Ing. I want to be Take Ing.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          I do believe I will ask Sen. Lee where’s our ‘give’, as well…

        2. avatar ChoseDeath says:

          Couldn’t agree more partner. I WANT MY CAKE BACK. That pastry was given away before I was even born, and I want it back.

  6. avatar Jim from LI says:

    If I’m selling one of my guns privately to a stranger I would welcome the ability to verify that I’m not dealing with a criminal. I have access to the internet, so give me the ability to use the same system as the LGS. However the requirement to get the almost-a-4473 form notarized is a major PITA.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      That’s what burns my biscuit, is that it would be easy to design a system that lets people like you and me check a buyer without all of that rigmarole — and no more expensive than whatever it is they’re planning now — but nobody wants to do it.

      An app that works in two stages. Stage 1, you authenticate yourself as someone who isn’t on the prohibited list. Stage 2, the buyer does the same. Both of you get a unique transaction # with a yes/no flag.

      If you make the sale, keep the background check receipt for your records. Done. Nobody needs to know what was transferred, only that it was transferred between two law-abiding people.

      I’d be happy to do a “universal background check” like that, if only for my own peace of mind. I think almost everyone would.

      The fact that nobody in any political arena has seriously proposed something like this tells me that politicians — no matter whether they’re R or D — aren’t in this to create more freedom, or even to create effective solutions. It’s all about more of the same, and that means control and restriction, with all the benefit flowing to the legislators and the middlemen (e.g., lawyers, unions, lobbyists, CPAs, PACs…).

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        And if one fine day you perform “Stage 1” and discover your own name on that list?

        Is there a button to click to snitch yourself out, and the Gestapo kicks in your door and shoots your dog? 😉

        1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          Please see a psychiatrist your paranoia is showing.

        2. avatar Ing says:

          I think in that case they find you, Geoff.

          Or maybe not…they never prosecute people who lie on the current background check forms as it is, so maybe this pipe dream of mine would be no different in that regard.

          But hey, your paranoia is showing, says the same jackwagon who spends all his time here frothing at the mouth and yelling about how the storm troopers are going to do the very thing you just joked about.

        3. avatar Ing says:

          Come to think of it, stage 1 is totally unnecessary. All anyone needs to know is that the recipient of the firearm isn’t a prohibited criminal.

      2. avatar TheUnspoken says:

        A voluntary background check like you described could be set up relatively easily, but again even if you make the system voluntary, they want to make it mandatory and stick the sellers in jail if they don’t comply.

        As usual the seller (law abiding gun owner) is turned into the criminal, when the theoretical goal is to keep the firearms out of the hands of a prohibited person.

        Meanwhile, people failing the background checks aren’t prosecuted and actual prohibited persons caught with a gun are usually let off easy.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          Agreed. I think you’ve just described the true goal of everything they’re doing.

      3. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        Really ING were you born yesterday? Do you think that the beer drinking pizza eating out house gang would have the intestinal fortitude to do anything if they were not forced to by law? Your system is a fantasy. Besides that they would not use it as it might lead to them losing money on a lost sale.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          Not being forced to do it at gunpoint is a feature, not a bug.

          And yes, given the 90% support for background checks in general, I do believe that the majority of law-abiding people would voluntarily do background checks on purchasers if it were free, took the absolute minimum of personal information, and didn’t register their guns.

          Criminals, well, you were never going to get them anyway, just like they don’t go through background checks now.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      $39 for four years.
      https://www.nationalnotary.org/florida/how-to-become-florida-notary
      must be 18yo, fla resident, not a felon.
      the little embosser might cost a bit.
      set up at the gun show and charge a dollar.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        How much does that table rental cost at a Florida show?

        I’ve never sold at a gun show…

        1. avatar Frank says:

          Last time I checked, about 9 years ago it was $300.00 for the three day show.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    The seller would then confirm that they have “no knowledge or reason to believe that the purchaser is of unsound mind.” The form would have to be witnessed and signed by a notary public, but the bill doesn’t require the seller to do anything with the form.

    Making everyone go to a Notary Public before they can privately buy/sell a firearm is a significant burden.

    Bad actors could use all manner of speech dissemination (smart phones, desktop computers, notebook computers, tablet computers, computer servers, printers, copy machines, fax machines, telephones, cell phones, pens, paper, megaphones, amplifiers and speakers, microphones, radio transmitters, paint and wood, books, etc. etc. etc.) to create havoc, render destruction, and facilitate thousands of deaths/murders.

    What is the threshold for annual injuries and murders due to speech dissemination before we require all private sales of speech dissemination methods go to a Notary Public and notarize sale forms?

  8. avatar Ing says:

    Oh yeah…news flash: The Republican Party is NOT on our side. Not anywhere, not ever. Individual legislators may be, but the party exists only to exalt itself. The only way

    This kind of crap is what you get when you’re a captive demographic. Gun owners to the Republican party are like black people to the Democrats. They think we can’t get along without them, so they can do whatever they want to us (for our own good, of course…never mind that they profit every time they screw us over).

    It’s long past time Florida — and the rest of us — started collecting some Republicunt scalps. Behave a little more like Virginia. Remind them that they only exist because gun owners let them.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      This is exactly why I identify myself as a Conservative first, and not Republican first.

      Makes me wish the Tea Party would experience a rebirth and take over.

    2. avatar ChoseDeath says:

      Holy shit, I never thought about that comparison, but you’re absolutely right! I’m stealing that. Thanks man. And of course, you’re 100% correct. And I’m with you Haz, I don’t even call myself a Republican, I say Conservative Libertarian.

  9. avatar Gary says:

    Fruit of all the work by former Gov. Rick Scott in getting people from New York and New Jersey to move to Florida.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      And the toadie Galvano is pushing for more roads and highways to open up the center of the state to yet more development.

    2. avatar Luis Valdes says:

      The “New York” and “New Jersey” areas of the State are mostly in Miami Metro Area (Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties). They didn’t vote for Rick Scott. It was the good loyal Republicans in rural central and north Florida along with the last remnants of the Cuban Conservative block in South Florida that fled Communism.

      Republican Voters voted in a Republican Gun Grabber.

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    “We have a job to do” and “law-abiding citizens get put upon.”

    Yup. Sounds about right.

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    Test.

    TTAG, why you ghosting me here brah? I gots feelz too. If we’re breaking up just be an adult and say so.

    LOL.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Disappearing comments?

      I’ve had some of those, too. Not usually on TTAG, but on other WordPress sites (usually on wordpress.com, as a matter of fact). WP has problems that way.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      I’ve had a few, here and there, evaporate on me as well.

      It’s not just you…

  12. avatar Roger J says:

    Galvano acknowledged that “a give and take”. Right. You give up your rights against your will and the government takes them. Such a deal.

  13. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    So you thought the Republicans were your saviors Huh? This same senario will play out at the Federal Level after 2020 no matter who becomes President. If Trump does remain in office gun owners are in for a big fking that is for sure.

    As far as the Florida Bill why in the hell they did not just require people to go through a licensed dealer is beyond all comprehension. The same paper work could be used in addition to the Federal Back Ground check. The whole idea is to catch a felon trying to buy a gun and without a background check this law is about useless. I think these legislators are on psychedelic drugs.

    I do think the safe storage part was long overdue but the check on the buyer has to be modified before passage.

  14. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “Sen. Lee said it would be in the seller’s “best interests” to hold on to the form indefinitely, “should this weapon ultimately get used in the commission of a crime.””

    Oh, *really*?

    If I were to walk up to Senator Lee, stare him straight in the eye, and tell him it would be in his “best interests” not to pass that law, would he consider it a threat? Would he have a problem if I did that?

    So where the fuck does Lee get off thinking threatening citizens, fellow Floridians, is OK?

    1. avatar Hush says:

      Sen. Lee’s statement about “best interest” should go without saying. It is always best to safeguard and retain paperwork of this nature. I do not support Sen Lee or this type of legislation, but I view his statement as merely good advice. Too many larger issues to be concerned about.

  15. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    This looks as good as any other place to drop this –

    “‘Gulags Weren’t That Bad’: Bernie Sanders Staffer Says Trump Supporters Will Need To Be ‘Re-Educated In Camps'”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/gulags-werent-bad-sanders-staffer-says-trump-supporters-will-need-be-re-educated-camps

    1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      To Geoff

      I took a look at your Far Right nut case link.

      If anybody needs to be sent to a good shrink you do. Even a re-education camp would not be a bad idea. People like you are a danger to society. No wonder Northam wants to ban modern weapons.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Little ‘vladdie’-boy needs to take his meds and listen to his mommie when she tells him to clean his room… *Snicker* 😉

        1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          Lets hope the Feds are watching guys like you. They did a very good job of surveillance on the 3 Terrorists now they need to expand their operation and soon.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          The next time you’re “using the bathroom”, lock the door so your mommie doesn’t catch you masturbating again, OK? 🙂

  16. avatar Frank says:

    So of I get this right, (the south) did win the civil war but it took those Democrats a while to accomplish it.

  17. avatar Nelson says:

    NOTICE, ALL these are happening under a REPUGlican ‘take the bumpfire stocks 1st, due process never Trump’s regime. WAKE the FRAK up gunnies: there are ALWAYS traitors amongst you.

    1. avatar Chief Censor says:

      No, no, no… Republicans are not an anti constitution party, that’s the Democrats only. The Republicans would never violate the rights of the people ever. Without the Republicans we would have gun control.

  18. avatar Jay in Florida What used to be a free state says:

    Senate President Galvano is a idiot. If he thinks Im doing a background check to sell my own private property.
    Come and arrest me now. I wont obey any part of this law now or ever.

  19. avatar Top says:

    So the take away is that the seller has a CYA document to hand over if things go sideways after the sale? Wow. That certainly won’t prevent a single criminal act.

    Second, Oliva says “when we in any way start to infringe on those things that people consider their constitutional rights.” Consider?? What’s to consider? The 2A IS our constitutional right.

  20. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Its just another underhanded way of having a gun registration. A paper trail after the fact. Anyone who has done a private sale should be at the least smart enough to have a bill of sale. To keep as a record of transfer if the gun is ever used in a crime. They can question me all they want to. After the fact.

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