Gun owners expect sales dip after Florida gun reforms

Bill in response to Parkland shooting raises minimum age to buy rifle

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter, Tim Swift - Digital Editor

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - Gun stores across the state of Florida expected to see declines in sales after the signing of the new gun control bill in reaction to the school shooting in Parkland.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill Friday despite opposition and a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.

Gun store owners saw the effect Friday night.

"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement shut their background checks system down to update so we couldn't process background checks for a while," said Caleb Giddings, who owns National Armory in Pompano Beach. "So we had to pause quite a few sales during that period." 

The bill raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21, extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks, which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire. 

It also creates a so-called guardian program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.

Giddings said the FDLE updates are already reflected in the computer-based background check system. 

He feels the system is thorough, provides the appropriate red flags, and gives them the discretion to act on gut instinct.

"If someone is acting weird or under the influence, we turn them away," Giddings said.

Giddings said he hoped the other red flags exposed in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting won’t go ignored.

"This kid had been reported to authorities several times, mental health, nothing had been done about that," he said.  

As for the changes, Giddings isn’t convinced they are the answer to the problem.

 "I am not in favor of cutting off the access of law-abiding citizens to buy guns," Giddings said. "If you are old enough to get married, buy a car. … It seems kind of ridiculous to me."

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