STATEMENT: Giffords Applauds Florida County for Passing Background Checks Bill for Private Sales that Will Make the Local Community Safer

April 12, 2018 —  Giffords applauded commissioners in Florida’s Leon County for approving an ordinance that requires individuals purchasing a firearm from a private seller on county property to undergo a background check. Buyers would also be subject to a -five-day waiting period. The commissioners overwhelmingly approved the ordinance by a 6-1 vote. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence wrote a letter supporting the ordinance highlighting how background checks are effective at keeping guns away from dangerous people and waiting periods can reduce gun suicides and homicides.

While a law passed in 2011 prevents local governments in Florida from regulating nearly all aspects of firearms purchase and possession, a constitutional amendment from 1998 explicitly allows counties to enact waiting periods and background checks when gun sales take place on their property. The Leon County Commissioners and county staff believe the new ordinance will be able to stand up to any court challenge because of the 1998 amendment.

“This is a great day for the safety of communities in Leon County,” said Allison Anderman, Managing Attorney at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “In the wake of the horrific shooting at Parkland these commissioners have shown courage and leadership in passing a law that will better keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and someone in a crisis. It serves as a model for other Florida communities that want to save lives from the daily toll of gun violence and we are proud to support its passage.”

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Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer.