Does Florida’s gun control bill set framework for de-facto firearms registry?

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Does Florida’s gun control bill set framework for de-facto firearms registry?

A provision in the Florida gun control bill signed into law earlier this month that if not expressly prohibited elsewhere in Florida statutes could be (and has been) interpreted as establishing a framework for the creation of a de-facto, involuntary firearms registry.

The Florida Senate website reflects Florida’s gun control bill SB 7026 was approved by Governor Rick Scott on March 9th, 2018 and became effective the same day. The 105 page bill includes language describing the circumstances under which a “risk protection order” (firearm confiscation order) orders an individual (the respondent) to surrender all firearms and ammunition owned by the respondent, as well as his/ her concealed weapons permit:

Here’s the relevant section outlining the forced surrender:

1106 (7) SURRENDER OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION.—

Upon issuance of a risk protection order under this section, including a temporary ex parte risk protection order, the court shall order the respondent to surrender to the local law enforcement agency all firearms and ammunition owned by the respondent in the respondent’s custody, control, or possession except as provided in subsection (9), and any license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued under s. 790.06, held by the respondent.

A subsequent section of the Florida gun control law stipulates law enforcement provide the respondent with a receipt identifying all firearms that have been surrendered, the quantity and type of all ammunition surrendered and any Florida concealed weapons permit that was surrendered.

1141 (c) At the time of surrender, a law enforcement officer taking possession of any firearm or ammunition owned by the respondent, or a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued under s. 790.06, held by the respondent shall issue a receipt identifying all firearms and the quantity and type of  ammunition that have been surrendered, and any license surrendered and shall provide a copy of the receipt to the respondent. Within 72 hours after service of the order, the law enforcement officer serving the order shall file the original receipt with the court and shall ensure that his or her law enforcement agency retains a copy of the receipt.

The law directs law enforcement agencies to establish policies pertaining to the seizure, storage and return of confiscated firearms and ammunition.

500 4. Law enforcement agencies must develop policies and procedures relating to the seizure, storage, and return of firearms or ammunition held under this paragraph.

Firearm owners would undoubtedly say that the issuance of a receipt identifying all firearms confiscated must include the serial number, make and model of the firearm, in addition to the name and address of the individual ordered to surrender their firearm (s), as such information would be necessary to ensure the return of the exact same firearm.

Firearm owners would undoubtedly say the retention of the receipt containing the serial number, make and model type of the firearm and the owners identifying information opens the door for dishonest actors in law enforcement and the court to be tempted to create lists of these firearm owners for nefarious political purposes.

Law enforcement policies developed under this scenario must also include creation of procedures and systems necessary to maintain an inventory count of confiscated firearms and ensure law enforcement does not use or lose this property in their possession as they have done in the past.

Multiple media accounts reported on the ever-growing list of firearms lost by the government and LEO.

With the knowledge of these provisions in Florida’s gun control law the next step is to determine what, if any, Florida statutes exist that expressly prohibit law enforcement, the Florida Department of Agriculture (the department accepting CWP applications), Florida Tax Collectors or any other state or local agency from creating lists, databases, spreadsheets of firearms and their owners.

This blog will subsequently report those findings.

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