Gov. Rick Scott has signed HB-1355, the so called “Baker Act” gun bill, which bars the mentally ill from gun purchases.
In a signing letter, a written statement attached to the more controversial bills, Scott pointed out that he is a “strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” and that he has signed legislation safeguarding the privacy of gun owners.
“Reasonable parameters on firearm purchases must be set forth in state law to ensure public safety,” he wrote. “Current state and federal law prohibit persons that are adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution from purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer, until the court determines the person is no longer a danger to public safety.”
Since 2002, around 100,000 people have been stopped from purchasing firearms because of their mental condition, the governor pointed out.
“These common sense parameters balance the rights of individuals to purchase firearms with society’s reasonable expectation of public safety,” he said in the statement.
Scott singled out Florida NRA chief Marion P. Hammer for her “hard work to address a critical public safety issue, following the all too frequent gun violence tragedies throughout our nation.”
The signing ends one of the strangest Second Amendment fights ever seen in the state.
Hammer and the state NRA affiliate, together with the NRA itself, had strongly backed HB-1355, while several out of state gun groups, such as Gun Owners of America and others, strongly urged the governor to veto the legislation.
Scott received more than 20,000 emails from GOA members urging him to veto the bill.