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Gun Sale Background Check Bills Face Opposition in Tallahassee

March 7, 2013 | WMFE - The national debate over gun violence is heating up in the halls of the state capitol as well. Two Florida lawmakers have introduced bills to require background checks on all gun sales in the state.

Democratic State Senator Maria Sachs and Democratic Representative Lori Berman, both from Palm Beach County, unveiled the bills in their respective chambers.

Representative Berman says 40% of gun sales without background checks happen at gun shows or over the Internet, where guns are bought and sold without buyer screening of any kind.

"We support the right of people to have guns,” Berman said. “But we don't believe you should be able to sell or transfer your gun without making sure the person purchasing the gun is legally entitled to purchase that gun." 

The bill faces strong opposition from some Republican lawmakers and from the National Rifle Association.

Marion Hammer, the NRA's former president and current member of its Board of Directors, says the bill would require gun dealers to turn weapons over to the county sheriff if a would-be buyer fails the background check. 

"This is supposed to be a free country, and law-abiding people are not supposed to be encumbered by every imaginable kind of restriction that a legislator who doesn't like guns makes up," Hammer said.

The bill introduced Wednesday would ban the sale of guns to convicts, fugitives, drug addicts, dishonorably-discharged military, and people who have been committed to a mental institution.


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