Florida Senate rejects safe gun storage amendment in permitless carry bill

HB 543 allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Senate is taking up a bill to allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit right now. The bill, HB 543, already passed the Florida House.

However, an amendment pushed by an Orlando state senator regarding the safe storage of weapons will not be in it.

State Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, filed an amendment to the Public Safety bill, making it a felony if a child were to get their hands on a gun that wasn’t safely stored, then fired it and hurt themselves or someone else.

“Sometimes it takes penalties to push the issue to the proper position, and I think that this might just do that,” Stewart said.

The amendment failed in the Florida Senate Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s what the amendment would have done:

  • It would require that firearms are safely stored
  • It also raises penalties if a child were to get their hands on a gun that isn’t safely stored

For example, current law states if a child is able to gain access to a firearm, it’s a second-degree misdemeanor. This amendment would have made it a first-degree misdemeanor if a child was able to access an improperly stored gun, and a third-degree felony if the child fires that gun, hurting themselves or someone else.

“There have to be some higher consequences because we need to make sure that parents and those who have guns that are around children, that they store them properly,” Stewart said.

She said her amendment was prompted by shootings in the last few years in which children have gotten hold of guns.

For example, in Volusia County in February, deputies said a 3-year-old boy shot and killed himself, after getting hold of a firearm that was in a bedroom nightstand.

And in Seminole County in 2021, police said a woman was accidentally shot by a toddler while on a Zoom call.

Charges haven’t been brought in either case, according to law enforcement.

News 6 will let you know if the bill passes.

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About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.