Orange County Sheriff voices opposition to law that would lower minimum age to buy rifles in Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Sheriff John Mina has spoken out against a proposal to let people as young as 18 years of age buy a rifle in Florida.


The law currently requires a person to be at least 21 years old to purchase a long gun or rifle.

The latest proposal comes after lawmakers voted last year to let people carry a gun without a permit.

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There was an attempt last year to lower the age to buy rifles in Florida, but it failed. However, the 60-day legislative session that started Tuesday could be different.

The potential change in state law could reverse part of a statute enacted after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

After 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took 17 lives using a semi-automatic rifle, the legislature and then-Governor Rick Scott raised the minimum age to 21.

“That was passed in a Republican-controlled legislature and under a republican Governor,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina recalled. “I don’t see the reason behind it.”

Mina says decreasing the age back to 18 would be a huge mistake.

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“I don’t want a young person who has been involved with criminal activity all their life to turn 18 and then go to a gun store and purchase a rifle,” Mina explained.

During the 2023 Florida legislative session, the House passed a similar bill, but the Senate didn’t address the issue.

State Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) sponsors the current bill. He says he’s just looking out for ordinary citizens.

“It’s a personal issue for me,” Payne said. “To try to make sure that we are trying to give those rights back to the law-abiding citizens that deserve it.”

However, not everyone agrees. Democrats like State Senator Shervin Jones (D-Miami Gardens) say they oppose lowering the minimum age.

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“We have had every opportunity to do what is right and ensure that people are safe,” Jones said. “What does Florida do? Florida goes in a totally different direction.”

There’s also a new proposal in Tallahassee to allow open carry in Florida.

A House Republican from South Florida filed the bill Tuesday. It would also allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns to legislative meetings and in the State Capitol complex. If signed into law, the changes would take effect immediately.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray,

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.





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