A tragic shooting that took place on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus in Parkland, Florida catalyzed lawmakers to propose legislation that would restrict possessing firearms and ammunition. Since the incident, lawmakers have made several proposals for regulating guns in the hands of average citizens. One of these proposals involves the implementation of gun violence restraining orders, or GVROs.
Authorities Failed to Act on Tips
As it turns out, students, neighbors, and others knew the Parkland shooter was dangerous before he took the lives of seventeen people. Over the course of seven years, police responded to his home 39 times. A full year before the shooting, the suspect was banished from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and transferred to another school because of disciplinary issues.
Just weeks before the shooting, a woman who knew the suspect warned the FBI that he was “going to explode.” A YouTuber whose video the suspect commented on also reported him five months earlier. Though the suspect used his real first and last name when posting the comment, the FBI claimed they could not act on the tip.
From displaying troubling behavior in school to posting photos of his arsenal on social media and commenting that he wanted to be “a professional school shooter,” the shooter raised several red flags that police may have taken more seriously were they allowed to take preemptive action.
Legislation Introduced to Curb Gun Violence in Florida
Gun violence protective orders are temporary restrictions on gun ownership and possession. If such a law passed, it would prevent those deemed a threat to themselves or others from having access to guns and ammunition while they are believed to be in a state of crisis. The law would allow family members or law enforcement officers to ask a judge to confiscate guns from loved ones suffering from mental health issues.
After the court issues a GVRO, a hearing is scheduled two to three weeks later to determine whether to lift the GVRO or extend it for up to one year. Lawmakers in several other states have already implemented similar laws. Many more are considering proposals. In Florida, the bill is known as House Bill 231.
Though HB 231 was eventually pulled, provisions of the law exist in SB 7026 also known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. The bill includes measures to keep guns away from dangerous individuals while promoting school safety.
- Implements “Risk Protection Orders” which allow courts to prohibit a violent or mentally ill individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm or other weapons.
- Allows law enforcement officers to seize firearms when a person has been detained under the Baker Act.
- Raises the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21 from 18. Licensed firearm dealers may not sell or transfer firearms to anyone under 21.
- Bans the sale and possession of bump stocks.
- Establishes a three-day waiting period for all gun sales.
- Provides funds to boost school security.
Could GVROs have stopped Parkland?
Critics of stricter gun laws claim that determined criminals will find ways to get their hands on guns. There are so many avenues to obtain weapons that risk protection orders may not have prevented Parkland; however, the law would have allowed police to take the arms he already had.
Since SB 7026 passed, police departments can ask the court to allow them to take weapons away from people before they commit a crime just because they display signs that they might cause harm. In many instances, saying the wrong things or using the wrong tone can lead people to believe a person is planning to hurt themselves or others. You have the right to defend yourself from gun seizure. An attorney like Brian Gabriel can help you do just that. When you need a gun rights lawyer in West Palm Beach, call 561-622-5575 or email us to set up a free case review.