Gun safety bill introduced during first day of Florida session

Bill filed in January in response to Pulse shooting


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A gun safety bill filed in response to the Pulse nightclub shootings was introduced Tuesday in the Florida Senate on the first day of the Florida legislative session.

Sen. Linda Stewart's bill aims to curb gun violence by banning the sale of civilian versions of military-grade assault rifles and ammunition in Florida.

Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith filed the bill in January while they were in Orlando, calling the legislation a promise to the families, victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

If passed, House Bill 167 would "prohibit sale or transfer of assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine." 

"We're not taking anybody's guns away, and we're not infringing on anybody's right to hunt or protect themselves in their home," Smith said.

Co-sponsor Sen. Gary Farmer said in a news release that if the ban had been in place, it would have stopped Omar Mateen from purchasing the weapons he used to kill 49 people and injure 53 others last June.

The bill also says that anyone who possesses the banned weapons or ammunition could face criminal charges. The ban would not apply to guns previously purchased in Florida. 

The Florida legislative session officially started Tuesday and will last for 60 days.

The Legislature will be asked to approve a state budget, a requirement during a legislative session. Lawmakers will also consider other proposed legislation.

Legislators are expected to act quickly on Florida's death penalty law. They will also consider bills dealing with toxic algae blooms, medical marijuana and gun rights.

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