Florida GOP submit bill lowering minimum gun buying age to 18

Second Amendment


A bill reversing part of the 2018 gun law passed after the Parkland high school shooting has been submitted for the 2024 legislative session.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida House Republicans are once again trying to lower the minimum age for buying a gun from 21 to 18, reversing part of a law passed after the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

That year, Nikolas Cruz, who was 19 at the time, killed 17 students and school staff members with a semi-automatic rifle. After the shootings, Florida’s legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott enacted a law that increased the minimum buying age to 21.

That law prompted a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association, who claimed it violated Second Amendment rights. 

HB 1223, one of many bills submitted for the 2024 legislative session which began on Tuesday, would officially lower the minimal gun purchasing age back to 18. Florida’s House passed a virtually identical bill last year with its backer, House Speaker Paul Renner, claiming they were “restoring the ability of young adults to exercise their Second Amendment rights” but the Senate did not bring it up.

This year, the measure is being submitted by Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka, who claimed in 2023 that the measure “corrects the wrong we did in 2018” while leaving the other aspects of the 2018 law intact. 

Florida’s Democratic state representatives, including former Parkland mayor Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, opposed lowering the minimum age citing the absence of major school shootings in Florida since the passage of the law.

As of 2021, Florida’s rate of gun deaths has increased significantly, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the rate of deaths from gun violence increased from 12.9 (people killed per 100,000 of Florida’s population) in Rick Scott’s final year as governor to 14.1 in 2021. Reports on subsequent years are currently unavailable as Florida changed its system of reporting crime statistics to comply with federal law, and under the new system, law enforcement agencies that represent about 40 percent of Florida’s population are not reporting specific data.

In Tampa, restricting teenagers’ access to guns has been a major priority for the community and law enforcement as there have been multiple reported instances of teens getting a gun and shooting others.



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