A person barred from buying a gun under Florida law is also prohibited from buying ammunition, but there's nothing to stop them from walking into a gun shop and leaving with a few boxes of ammo.
A bill filed this week could change that fact. Jaime's Law — named for Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year — would require background checks for anyone who tries to buy ammunition from a licensed manufacturer or dealer, just like the required background checks for people buying firearms.
The bill was filed in the Florida House by Rep. Dan Daley, a Democrat from Coral Springs, and in the Florida Senate by Sen. Lauren Book, a Democrat from Plantation.
Daley tells New Times the legislation seeks to close a loophole that allows people prohibited from buying guns to still purchase ammunition.
"I think the argument some folks make is that if a bad guy wants to get a gun, he'll get a gun," Daley says. "That's right, but let's make it more difficult. And if it's easy to get a gun, why should we make it easier for them to get ammunition?"
Jaime's Law was introduced first as a federal bill — the Ammunition Background Check Act — earlier this year to require universal background checks for all gun ammo sales. Jaime's father, Fred Guttenberg; and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz worked on the bill together for months before it was filed, according to the Miami Herald. Daley, a Stoneman Douglas graduate, says he contacted Guttenberg and asked if he could file the same legislation in Florida in Jaime's name.
With a Republican-controlled state Legislature, Daley is "cautiously optimistic" about the bill passing and hopes it will be heard and discussed.
"I think it's a step in the right direction for Florida," he says.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.