According to the Miami Herald, On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 656, which would allow police to arrest juveniles for illegal possession of firearms and charge them with a misdeameanor if they post their vanity videos and photos showing off their illegal weapons on social media.
Under the measure, police could make the arrest without a warrant, as long as there is probable cause to believe the young person has illegally possessed the weapons.
It’s against Florida law for anyone under age 18 to possess a firearm unless they are target shooting or hunting with an adult. Anyone convicted on a first offense can be sentenced to three days in a juvenile detention facility.
The measure does nothing to change existing law, which also allows law enforcement to charge a parent with a third-degree felony for permitting a child to illegally possess a firearm.
The bill won the support of two of the Senate’s most stalwart protectors of gun rights, Sens. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, and Kelly Stargel, R-Lakeland. But it faces an uphill climb because the NRA is opposing it, and few GOP legislators are willing to antagonize the gun lobby in an election year.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said her organization’s objection is based on the fact that they believe the bill leaves “too much to chance when it comes to law-abiding kids engaged in legitimate activities.”
“We would support a bill for law enforcement to take action against kids who are in illegal possession and are threatening,’’ she said, adding there should be clear exceptions to prevent police from going after kids who post a photo of themselves with a rifle next to a felled deer, or want to show off a trophy they won in a shooting competition.
“We want law-abiding kids protected,’’ she said. “We want kids who misuse guns and shoot each other stopped, but you should not throw kids who use guns for legitimate purposes under the bus just to get at kids who commit crimes.”
Pizzo said that those activities are not illegal and displaying them on social media does not violate the existing law.
“If some 15-year-old is with his dad and they get a big, wild hog or something that they just shot and they want to take photographs and display them all over the place, go ahead,’’ he said. “It’s a lawful activity.”
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