Will Florida’s stolen gun problem be addressed by lawmakers this year?

Published January 10 2018
Crime scene photos from a burglary where 40 guns were stolen at Titan Arms, in unincorporated Lakeland, Fla. on September 4, 2016. [Photo courtesy State Attorney's Office, Tenth Judicial Circuit]

When state Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, was told by a reporter last year that at least 82,000 stolen guns are missing in Florida, he called the numbers “atrocious” and said he would look into filing a proposal during this year’s session.

“What it speaks to is negligence and lack of diligence in securing weapons,” Rouson said last year. “Somehow, we’ve got to get the attention of private owners.”

With the state’s session now in full swing, we checked back with Rouson on the topic of stolen guns.

He hasn’t filed a bill, but said he is planning to add a provision requiring a public awareness campaign on responsible gun ownership onto an existing bill.

What “scared” him off, Rouson said, from drafting a proposal that would hold gun owners accountable for the security of their weapons was the reception of Rep. Wengay Newton’s House Bill 927, which would make it a second-degree misdemeanor to leave your running car unattended.

Instead, Rouson will look at proposing a public awareness campaign “while we identify what it is that we really need to do.”

“You can never have enough awareness about an issue that’s causing deaths and destruction in our communities,” he said.