Florida State Representative Dr. Joel Rudman filed a bill that would reduce the average amount of time a person would have to wait to purchase and take possession of a gun.
Rudman, the state representative for Northern Okaloosa County (excluding Crestview) and all of Santa Rosa County, announced the bill filing at an event in Pensacola on August 23rd. You can read the one-page bill here.
The bill changes one word in the current law from ‘later’ to earlier. “A mandatory waiting period is imposed between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. The Mandatory waiting period is three days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, or expires upon the completion of the records checks [background checks] required under state statute 790.065, whichever occurs later,” the bill reads.
This new law won’t affect concealed weapons license holders, who can take possession of a new firearm immediately.
Representative Rudman introduced the bill, he says, after talking to constituents and hearing about long delays in receipt of firearms due to background checks.
“I think we’ve learned the hard way that anytime you give a government bureaucracy, unlimited amount of time to do something they’re going to take every minute of that, in terms of in terms of reality in terms of what what can be affecting that,” Rudman said in an interview with Mid Bay News. Rudman added that he believes the background check delay is preposterous – as the police are able to run one almost instantaneously when they pull someone over in a traffic stop.
According to Rudman, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to deal with staffing shortages. The state law enforcement agency pays like a state law enforcement agency (not a ton) and must find qualified candidates who can also pass a background check themselves. The requirements the state puts on FDLE employees narrow the recruiting pool. That is why he’s started talking with other state legislators about removing the responsibility for background checks from the FDLE and handing it over to the FBI. “if you live in Alabama, Alabama does not do their own background checks. They trust the FBI, to do the background check. Most states let the FBI why because the FBI has more resources, more money.”
Before filing this bill, Rudman says he was in contact with several parents of victims of the Parkland High School Shooting that took place in 2018. “The last thing I want in the State of Florida to think is we’ve got some redneck up there in the panhandle who doesn’t understand what we’ve been through and why these things are in place,” Rudman said, “So, I reached out to a Parkland parent who’s actually a part of the Parkland Association. They actually voiced their support. They said, ‘yeah, this is one of the things that we don’t actually feel is necessary.”
Rudman argues that this law doesn’t keep anyone safer. Many groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Foundation, dispute this claim and say homicides by gun are reduced by 17% in places. That 17% number comes from a National Institutes of Health study that compared homicide rates in states with waiting periods and states without one. A Rand Corporation study found waiting periods may reduce homicide rates but did not find any causal links between the two. The Rand Study found no associations between cooling-off periods and the reduction of mass shootings. Finally, that same Rand Study noted most mass shooters, like the one in Parkland, “the majority of prohibited possessors who perpetrate gun violence acquire their firearms from social acquaintances or the black market; thus, a large portion of violent gun crime is unlikely to be affected through this mechanism.”
Only one thing. Should the bill become law, purchasers of guns in Florida would be able to receive their weapons in three days – provided they don’t fail a background check. If they pass, they can get their gun as soon as it is available in the store. If their background check takes the whole waiting period – they can get their gun at the end of three days, even if the background check doesn’t return before the three-day period ends.
The 2024 Legislative Session won’t start until January 9th, so don’t expect to see anything change over the next couple of months.
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