Column: Gov. Scott signs five gun bills, makes history


by Lee Williams

Gov. Rick Scott made history Friday when he quietly signed five pro-gun bills into law.

Scott has now signed more pro-gun bills — 12 total — during one term in office than any other Florida governor.

“Gov. Scott supports the Second Amendment rights of Floridians and was glad

Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott

to sign laws this session that protect those rights,” said the governor’s spokesman John Tupps. “Gov. Scott is proud Florida is at a 43-year crime low and will continue to work to keep it that way.”

Scott’s signatures came without so much as an accompanying press release.

The lack of fanfare is viewed by some as a testament to tough reelection campaign he is waging against former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Here are the state’s newest gun laws:

• HB89, the “Threatened use of force” bill, allows an armed citizen to display, or point, their defensive firearm at an assailant without criminal charges, assuming the threatened use of force is justifiable.

The bill became incorrectly labeled as the “warning shot bill,” although it neither authorizes or encourages warning shots, which are not tactically sound.

The law comes too late to help Marissa Alexander, who became synonymous with the legislation. In 2012, Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot toward her husband, who she said was trying to kill her. Last year, an appellate court ordered that Alexander should receive a new trial.

• HB523 allows Florida’s tax collectors to “fast track” applications for the state’s concealed carry licenses.

The bill was designed to remedy the main problem with the program — the delay.

It allows tax collectors to take an applicant’s fingerprints, collect their money, take their photo, process their application and then submit the entire packet electronically.

The Florida Department of Agriculture has been struggling to keep up with the demand for the 1.2 million concealed carry licenses that have been issued so far.

Although details are still being worked out, initially six tax collectors will start participating in the program by September. More offices will be added in January 2015.

Sarasota County’s chief deputy tax collector Liz Klaber said the bill was strongly supported by her colleagues across the state.

“It makes it easier for our clients, and makes it more efficient for the state, too,” Klaber said.

Klaber did not know when her office will start assisting concealed carry license applicants. However, once they can offer the service, they will post a notification on their website and issue a press release, she said.

• HB525 extends the public records exemption for concealed carry licensees to tax collectors. It secures an applicant’s personal information and prohibits its release.

• HB255 and SB424 aims to stop insurance companies from discriminating against gun owners.

It makes it illegal to refuse to issue or renew an insurance policy because the applicant owns firearms. Some insurance companies ask about firearms ownership in their policy applications.

• HB7029 is best known as the “Pop Tart bill.”

It loosens the zero-tolerance restrictions at Florida schools for children caught playing with make-believe guns fashioned out of fingers, pencils or breakfast pastries.

“This is not a gun bill,” said Marion Hammer, executive director of of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, and former president of the National Rifle Association. “This is a bill about protecting children from incredibly bad decisions by school administrators who are charged with enforcing a so-called zero-tolerance policy.”

If we don’t run into each other at the range, you can reach me at (941) 361-4975, by email at or by regular mail, 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can also follow me on social media at or


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Ronald Robertson on

    Thank you Governor Scott for supporting our 2nd amendment rights and the right to self defense for all Floridians. The pop tart bill is a sad commentary on the common sense in our schools. Only a crazy left wing nut would toss a kid out of school for making a pop tart look like a gun or point their fingers and say bang. Now we need bills and laws to regulate what any bone head should know automatically. I personally think Rick Scott and Rick Perry (Texas) are the two best governors in the country.

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  3. Thank you Governor Scott !!! It’s refreshing to live and work in a State that supports the 2nd Amendment.

  4. Clayton Perry on

    Thank you Gov. Scott. It’s about time others follow your footsteps and show some plain ole common sense. I just hope Florida will soon see the open carry law. Thank you again Gov. May God Bless you

  5. David Newton on

    Well done. Thank you for thinking about your good people and then acting. Well done, I would vote for you.

  6. terry lou spry on

    the main stream liberal media downplayed all of this. thank god common sense is eating its way back into some bills. WAY to go GOV SCOTT. last nite at the local senior bingo , they are going to have class for seniors can get a concealed licence to carry. some people were surprised it was ever needed. the chatter was interesting.

  7. Lee Williams on

    You kind folks have made this the most-read story on my newspaper’s entire website today. That’s very appreciated.

  8. Who Cant Afford Guns.His Political Ads say the other guy is lousy. Who’s really a lousy Governor, proven track record doesn’t lie. His Political ad is sickening- some say another Lie. Who’s really behind all the debt. Laws that hurt the People, rather then help. Amazing what you can find on the web. Who’s money? Debt @ whose expense. Strange who owns a hugh Drug Testing Company, making hugh personal gains & profits at the People’s expense & loss. 300k forced off their Health Insurance. They give certain wealthy one’s a benefit that benefits them financally.

    Sorry my Political Party but enough is enough.

    Governor said on TV ad comment- he only cares about the working. In another TV ad he says he wants everyone to have same opportunity he did. Which is it? I know for a fact many of us wouldn’t hurt others the way he has. Records don’t lie. Even others say Ethic Laws violated.

    He just signed into Law, forcing all “State Employees” & Welfare Recipients to be Drug Tested. His wealthy cohorts already forced many honest Citizens & many honest Disabled Citizens to be Tested & seen by their Doctors every 3 months. Many have said Privacy Rights = Hipaa Laws being violated. It’s called keeping traced & tracked. Like other’s have said just a way for them to hold us accountable & penalize many of us, for one’s who do wrong. Someone making personal gains on the People’s lose. Unanswered Emails.

    Leaders who take an Oath, Leaders who won’t help. Look up Government Tyranny.
    Governor turned down $Billions$ Federal dollars, they say- defrauded taxpayer’s, making hundreds of Millions of dollars, while his Healthcare Corporation was forced to pay $1.7 Billion to settle the case – The largest Medicaid fraud settlement in US History. Lashed education. He slashed funding for our children’s education by $1.3 Billion in his first year. In his second year, he decimated higher education by $300 million. In the News- State Leaders using who’s Jet the People’s Jet for their Vacation, personal gain @ Tax Payers expense, while many of us don’t have any personal gain left, forced in hardship even others in debt. He- rejected available funding for high-speed rail, lying to the public about the costs. This cost Florida $2.4 billion in new infrastructure and jobs. He has failed to expand access to affordable health care coverage to 1.1 million working Floridians. This has cost Florida $51 billion and 70,000 jobs.
    His emails have been deleted, violating Florida’s sunshine laws. And in November 2013, he was even sued for failing to produce public records. He cut Bright Futures lottery-funded scholarships by 20%, making college less affordable for more than 150,000 students. He allowed a corporate campaign contributor to collect $52 million from Citizens Property Insurance after a $110,000 donation to his campaign.

    Furloughed Federal Government Employees got their un-paid days, back. All State affiliated employees who get several furlough days a year, don’t get their’s back. So unfair to all the Familys.
    Who’s debt @ whose expense.

    Strange never have seen a report the past 3 years of all the fee’s & cost forced up, many several times & all the hugh budget cuts. And with the domino or trickle down effect, just how many jobs & home’s were lost at local levels.

    He promised lower Property Taxes. Strange many of us have seen how many increases in Property Tax.

    Say’s he only cares about the working- facts don’t lie.
    There’s been many reports State wide record number of homes setting empty, even record number foreclosures & record number of homeless. Many needing more assistance, more help then in the past.

    Also who forced up the cost of Workers Compensation so businesses laid off workers, even some wouldn’t hire new workers.
    Also forced up everyone’s Driver License & Registration fees. Also how many increases in Auto & House even Wind & Flood Insurance. Even Electric cost forced up. Even many having their Healthcare cost forced up, many couldn’t afford to keep family members on their Policy. Even for many to loose benefits.
    Who forced many Disabled Citizens off their Insurance only to have many, everyone under 62 penalized money each month until we die. Penalize us for what they did. To violate the Law is one thing. But to hold Honest Citizens accountable for those who do wrong, and penalize Honest Citizens living on a lot less is another. Even one’s who can’t work not retired living on a lot less. Some even call it discrimination, some call it Rights of the Disabled!
    Forced in debt at whose expense.

    Marijuana for everyone – even Medical Marijuana for everyone its Natural, but he’s against that. Many Disabled Citizens even ones with serious conditions would all benefit. Prescriptions are Toxic. Besides legalize it for everyone -$millions$ in revenue, they could bring down fees & cost for many services that’s has forced many in debt.

    Guess who penalized many Disabled Citizens, making it harder to get certain medications needed. Ones with sever physical conditions forced to hand deliver a Prescription to the Pharmacist, rather then having it faxed or phone in. And require honest one’s to be tested & see their Doctor every 3 months, costing us more & penalize us for one’s who do wrong. Also even the Governor said in a news report the new Law was violating the Peoples Privacy Rights, they call it Hipaa Law. Personal Private Medical Info!
    The State doesn’t care about Disabled Citizens they have forced many in debt, took benefits away. Even won’t help 100% Disabled Citizens get a benefit that others get, costing us a lot more. They won’t even help defend the Rights of the Disabled!

    Under who’s watch.

    Accountability? Election Time.

  9. What some Leaders do to get re elected. Who personally owns a Testing Company while in Office making personal profits off the People’s loss. What certain FBook sites say apply to get- $2642.00 in Disability. Strange I worked very hard for 30+ years. Ended up getting $1200.00 a month not retired really hurts.

    About 6 years later and so much taken away by our State Government fees & cost forced up, several hugh budget cuts trickle down to hurt many. Even forced many off our Healthcare Policys. The latest report said in our State 300k forced off. Then to base everything by age and deny many assistance & benefits even extras that others get. Costing us a lot more. Many call it Age Discrimination. To hold many accountable for one’s who do wrong.

    Penalize many honest Citizens even many Disabled Citizens force many to be tested & seen by our Doctors ever 3 months, more $$. Even to make it harder for many to get their Prescriptions, for them to set standards with Insurance Company’s requiring a second approval by the Doctor back to them. Many say the Prescription approval should be good enough why many times during the year patients have to wait over several days & over 2 weeks to get their medication, even sometimes running out.

    To force Disabled Citizens who physically struggle to hand deliver a Prescription to our Pharmacist instead of having it faxed or phoned in like it use to be. Then to find out they give certain wealthy one’s a benefit that benefits them financally. While they take things away from those that depend on them. How many more will be forced in hardship even many others in debt at their expense. Penalize many money each month until we all die, for what they did not our fault. Strange the Governor even said in the News that the new Law was violating everyone’s Privacy Rights. But he wouldn’t end it. Many call it Hipaa Law being violated, keeping tabs & tracing even tracking everyone’s Personal Private Medical Info. How many more will be forced out, wrongfully evicted at their expense.

    Strange there was never a report just how many lost their jobs at their expense. Fact: News report said a single parent must make $48k to stay above poverty. Why would a family of 3, 2 which are Disabled living on $16k less can’t get out debt, and it keeps climbing on many. How much more is our State going to take away from many. Hurt one’s financally more. Living on less force many off benefits. Found out they changed Retirement system. Person works to get vested. Then just before retirement – Passes away. The spouse won’t get hardly any of what the worker had paid in. Lot less then if the Love one survived. Didn’t use to be that way. Freedom’s & Civil Liberties even Rights of the Disabled gaurnteed to every American. How many other’s have even complained they can’t get help. Not here not when they won’t help. Equality in equal Rights being denied & violated.
    Accountability? There isn’t any.

  10. After reading that more Privacy Rights violated on honest Americans. The old back ground check a CWL. Check was good enough. Many call it Personal & Private even Healthcare Privacy Rights being violated on many Honest Citizens. Just another way for him to force other’s to spend more they shouldn’t have to.

  11. Gwen Gladieux on

    It takes real courage to pass these laws without any fanfare, I thank you Rick Scott, although I do not agree with you on many things, you have my support for your decisions in signing these laws into effect.

  12. Thank You Gov. Scott!! What a refreshing way to start the day with reading about this! Thank you for supporting our 2nd amendment and the Florida residents with our rights!

  13. Pacific Northwest on

    I find it interesting that a law has to be wrote to cover another law. Don’t we already have the rights that are listed above. However, HB523 and HB525 are laws that are unconstitutional. I believe that the 2nd amendment states, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Making a legal citizen to carry a concealed weapons permit is an infringement. A Concealed Weapons permit is nothing more then a way for the government to get you into their system and to pay more tax. I am sure, George Washington and the rest of our forefather would except this policy.

  14. Pacific Northwest on

    I find it interesting that a law has to be wrote to cover another law. Don’t we already have the rights that are listed above. However, HB523 and HB525 are laws that are unconstitutional. I believe that the 2nd amendment states, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Making a legal citizen to carry a concealed weapons permit is an infringement. A Concealed Weapons permit is nothing more then a way for the government to get you into their system and to pay more tax. I am sure, George Washington and the rest of our forefather would not except this policy.

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  16. I live in Florida, and Governor Scott is ruining the state. These bills just prove how delusional he is! He is a real jerk, and I will be glad to see him defeated in November! WE NEED STRICTER GUN LAWS, NOT A FREE FOR ALL SHOOT OUT!

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