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Update: Two Florida Gun bills one step closer to law

Florida gun owners won another battle in Tallahassee in March, as state legislators passed a bill to stop Florida adoption agencies from forcing potential adoptive parents to register their firearms with the agency as a condition of adoption.

The Senate bill (SB-530) passed 38-2 and the House bill (HB-315) passed unanimously, 112-0. The bill also stops the state agency from forcing adoptive parents to follow gun control regulations created by the state regarding storage of firearms and ammunition.

The only two votes against the bill were from Sen. Ted Deutch (D-Delray Beach) and Sen. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami Gardens).

The bill now goes to Governor Charlie Crist, who says he strongly supports it and will sign it. Unified Sportsmen of Florida Executive Director and NRA Past President Marion P. Hammer asked gun owners to thank bill sponsors Sen. Thad Altman and Rep. Mike Horner, as well as Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul, for their support in moving the bills early.

“Adoption agencies in Florida have been effectively profiling prospective adoptive parents who own firearms – treating applicants for adoption, who chose to exercise the constitutional right to own a firearm, differently than non-firearms owning applicants,” Hammer said. “As a condition of adoption, prospective parents who own firearms must agree to regulations and restrictions imposed by the agency.

"At least one agency requires parents to store the firearms and ammunition separately in locked cabinets – rendering the right of self-defense and defense of family virtually impossible.

“Further, applicants who own firearms are required to register their firearms and ammunition with the agency. These agencies have set themselves above the law and have ignored the statutes,” Hammer said.

While some adoption agencies have attempted to claim their firearms regulations and forms were authorized or required by DCF, DCF actually repealed those regulations in April, 2008.

"This bill makes it clear that adoption agencies may not condition adoption on a person’s exercise of a constitutional right or a person’s willingness to disclose private information concerning lawful firearms ownership – nor may adoption agencies impose restrictions on firearms ownership. This bill codifies in law, that adoption agencies may not violate rights, profile, or discriminate against firearms owners who seek to foster or adopt children," Hammer added.

Senate Passes Gun Owners Trust Fund BiIl 31-9

By a vote of 31-9, the Florida Senate passed a bill on March 3 that will stop legislative raids on Florida gun owner’s trust fund monies used to administer the state’s firearm’s licensing program.

Last year, the Florida Legislature voted to take $6 million from the Florida Division of Licensing’s “Concealed Weapons and Firearm Trust Fund,” which was intended, by law, to be used solely for administering the licensing program. Gov. Charlie Crist stood up for gun owners and vetoed the trust fund raid, and a pair of identical bills (HB-651 and SB-1158) filed by Rep. David Rivera and Sen. Charlie Dean would stop future raids.

Dean’s SB-1158 passed the full Senate by at vote of 31-9.