State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, is sponsoring a measure that would allow Florida residents to petition a judge for a protective order against a family member who owns a gun, if that person is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.
Gibson is filing the measure for the second year in a row and if it becomes law, it would set up a process for concerned people to petition a judge for another person’s firearms to be temporarily confiscated. It would also prevent them from purchasing others.
“It speaks to, not just domestic violence issues, but mental health issues as well,” Gibson said.
Both the Senate and House versions of the bill died in their first committees last session, as the Republican-controlled chambers have traditionally been reluctant to approve new gun regulations.
Opponents to the measure argue it limits a citizen’s Second Amendment rights, but Gibson said the process set forth in her proposal strikes a delicate balance between constitutional rights and public safety.
“There is opportunity for redress and it’s a temporary situation in an effort to also, if necessary, have the individual get the help they may need,” she said. “It’s really focused on making sure families who may be on the other side of behaviors that they notice could end in gun violence.”
Gun owners are more likely to turn their guns on themselves than use them to protect against a threat, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, the CDC recorded that 22,018 people used a firearm to commit suicide, while only 484 people were shot and killed by someone in self-defense.
State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, is sponsoring the House version of the measure.