Republican State Senator Looks To Bar People Under 25 From Buying A Gun

Republican State Senator David Simmons is leading an effort in the Florida legislature to drastically change gun ownership in his state.

Simmons, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced on Wednesday that he wants to bar anyone under age 25 from legally purchasing or owning a firearm, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Florida previously raised their own minimum age to purchase any firearm from age 18 to age 21 following a shooting incident in Parkland, where 17 people were killed and another 17 people were injured. This law has some exceptions.

Simmons’ bill also intends to have some exceptions, the Orlando Sentinel reports;

He told the audience he would introduce the measure for the next legislative session that begins in January, which will be Simmons’ last as a term-limited senator.

The proposal as drafted would bar some individuals under age 25 from purchasing, possessing or selling assault weapons, which Simmons defined as firearms with a fixed magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The bill includes wide-ranging exceptions.

It would allow anyone between 21 and 25 to buy an assault weapon if they successfully complete a hunter safety course and get a hunter safety certification card, or are already licensed to carry a concealed weapon. A bill passed after Parkland prevents anyone under age 21 from buying any gun.

According to the report, the lawmakers said passing his bill is a necessary action the legislature should take following a series of tragic shooting incidents across the country.

“Given the circumstances now and over the last 15 to 20 years, we need to go ahead and do this,” Simmons said. Adding, “Thirty years ago, [issues with] assault-style weapons were not as common as today. We didn’t have at-risk young men committing the kinds of crimes they’re committing.”

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“I think we need to ensure they don’t have access to assault-style weapons,” he said.

Simmons’ bill does not have the endorsement of the Republican Party in Florida and its chairman, State Senator Joe Gruters, said the bill is unlikely to pass.

“It’s unlikely that I would ever support anything like that,” Gruters said. “In the present Legislature, I would say it has a zero percent chance.”

It is, however, supported across the aisle:

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who has proposed complete assault weapons bans each year since 2017, said he “immediately applauded” Simmons’ announcement at the league event that he also attended. Simmons had described it there as a “ban.”

Smith said later he was disappointed in the many exceptions. But, he added, “I’m open to any restrictions on assault weapons. As always, the devil is in the details. I will continue to work with Sen. Simmons on his idea.”