More than 4,000 people emailed Gov. Rick Scott on Friday, telling him to veto the only gun bill that passed through the Florida Legislature this year.
The bill, HB 1355, aims to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and received the blessing of the National Rifle Association. It passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House on a 117-1 vote.
Gun owners--who have sent Scott more than 20,000 emails in the last two weeks opposing any new gun legislation—are urging Scott to use his veto pen on HB 1355.
“I am opposed to any expansion of gun control, of any kind,” wrote Douglas Elliot, of Polk County. “Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg is bent on disarming every American in this country. I am an American citizen and am a responsible owner.”
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The bill would close a loophole in Florida law that allows people who voluntarily commit themselves to a mental institution to buy a gun once they leave. People who are involuntarily committed under the state’s “Baker Act” laws are currently prohibited from buying firearms.
Most people who are committed into mental institutions in Florida do so voluntarily. Officials from the National Rifle Association worked with a Miami Gardens Democrat, Rep. Barbara Watson, to try and close the loophole.
Watson’s bill was one of more than a dozen gun control laws proposed by Florida Democrats this year, the first session after the mass shooting of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. Other than HB 1355, none of the bills received a hearing in Florida’s firearm-friendly Legislature.
However, for the first time in several years, the Legislature did not pass any controversial bills to expand gun rights—perhaps a side effect of the national firestorm over gun crime.