Proposal would reduce waiting period on Florida gun sales

New bill would shorten gun purchase 'waiting period'
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 8:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Florida lawmakers could make it easier for people to buy a gun. A new bill could reduce the waiting period for someone to take home a gun.

Currently, anyone wanting to buy a gun in Florida has to wait at least three days for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to run a background check. State Representative Joel Rudman, (R) Navarre, filed a bill in the 2024 legislature that would change that.

“In today’s era with modern technology, you should be able to successfully complete a background check in three business days,” Rudman said.

Florida’s law was changed after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, giving the state more than three days to get background checks done.

Rudman said that led to problems at gun stores.

“We had dozens of law-abiding citizens whose background checks were taking up to two years to complete,” said Rudman.

FDLE says those cases are rare and 98% of transactions are resolved within minutes.

It completed 82,258 background checks in September 2023.

Florida Gun Owners director Luis Valdes said he wishes the legislature would eliminate waiting periods.

“Ultimately we would like to see the repeal of waiting periods in their entirety because they have been proven time and time again they don’t reduce crime,” Valdes said.

Florida no longer requires people to get a concealed carry permit to carry a gun, after a law passed earlier this year took effect July 1.

Prevent Gun Violence Florida president Patti Brigham said she’s worried if the current law is changed, criminals will fall through the cracks.

“That means there will be people who are carrying firearms owning firearms, who have no business doing so,” Brigham said.

Brigham said she would rather see the legislature expand background checks and close the so-called gun show loophole. If the proposal does become law, it will take effect in July 2024.

The Florida House and Senate will begin considering bills during committee hearings this month. Proposals won’t be voted on until the legislative session begins on January 9.