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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Gun safety' proposal includes harsher penalties for permit violations



A Broward County Democrat has filed legislation for the 2016 session that's intended to promote gun safety by mandating more training for concealed-weapons permit-holders and requiring them to declare they're carrying when approached by any police officer or other first-responder.

In a statement Monday, Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, said her proposal protects Floridians’ Second Amendment rights while also enhancing the responsibilities of citizens who exercise that right using concealed weapons permits.

“This bill would provide a safety measure for the permit-holder licensee as well as the law enforcement officer,” Clarke-Reed said. “This respects our citizens’ constitutional rights and makes all of us more accountable.”

But House Bill 935 is likely to be met with some resistance from gun-rights advocates. It also would impose harsher penalties for permit-holders who fail to disclose that they're carrying or who fail to present their conceal-carry license "when approached by or upon demand by a first-responder." (First-responders include police, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians.)

The proposal would drastically increase the fine for violating those requirements to $1,000 (from $25), and it calls for suspending or revoking a gun-owner's conceal-carry license if they violate that provision a second time.

Among the enhanced training requirements, the bill would require permit-holders to take a firearms course that includes "a minimum of six hours of certified firearm training and six hours of gun safety education."

The bill was filed Friday. It has not been referred to any committees yet and it has no Senate companion, a necessity for it to have a chance at becoming law.

Nearly 1.5 million people -- including 204,000 out-of-state residents -- have permits to carry concealed weapons in Florida.

[Last modified: Monday, December 14, 2015 1:29pm]


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