The Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passed 2023 House Bill 1543 on Monday, which aims to change the minimum age for purchasing or transferring long guns in the state to 18.
Under current law, long gun purchases and transfers are limited to those 21 and older, with exceptions for those who have received a firearm as a gift or through inheritance. This bill, which aligns Florida with the majority of other states in the country, would expand Second Amendment rights for young adults aged 18 to 20 who have been unable to purchase a long gun.
The bill’s supporters argue that young adults who are legally allowed to vote, serve in the military, and own handguns for self-defense should also be able to purchase long guns. Additionally, proponents argue that the bill will improve public safety by requiring background checks for individuals seeking to purchase long guns, as is already required for handgun purchases in Florida.
Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) praised the bill’s passage, saying it restores the ability of young adults to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
“Florida allows 18-20-year-old adults to obtain a long gun by having it gifted to them. This bill expands Second Amendment rights and improves public safety because it requires young adults who have the intent of purchasing a long gun to go through the background check process that is consistent with Florida law,” Renner said.
The bill’s sponsor, Florida State Representative Bobby Payne (R-Palatka), echoed these sentiments, stating that all law-abiding adults in Florida should be able to exercise their constitutional rights.
“Currently, Florida is among only a handful of states, like Hawaii and New York, who limit long gun sales to those 21 and up. Young adults who are 18-20 years old have been restricted from obtaining a long gun unless it was passed down or gifted to them. HB 1543 fixes that, reclaiming law-abiding Floridians’ constitutional liberty,” Payne said.
The bill now moves to the full House Judiciary Committee for consideration. If passed, it will then head to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
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