UPDATED: League of Women Voters conduct compliance checks at Florida gun shops


The League of Women Voters of Florida has conducted more than 30  compliance checks at gun shops across the state.

Deirdre Macnab, Florida League’s current president, said her members are lwvchecking to see whether the shops have a sign displayed, which tells patrons it’s illegal to allow an unattended firearm to fall into the hands of someone under 16.

“Gun safety is an issue we’ve paid attention to and studied,” Macnab said Tuesday. “Florida continues to be center-stage in issues related to gun safety. Stand-your-ground has put us in the national spotlight. We’re exploring how we can make a positive contribution to insuring children are safe, and that there is responsible gun ownership.”

Macnab believes Florida has irresponsible gun owners.

“Whenever you have accidents, the short answer is yes we do,” she said.

The idea to conduct the checks, she said, came from Patti Brigham, who chairs the Florida League’s Gun Safety Committee.

Macnab referred all other questions to Brigham.

“She will have statistics. I don’t want to speak willy-nilly,” Macnab said. “Certainly we have incidents of children getting their hands on guns. I would think that anybody would term that as irresponsible gun ownership. Our interest is in promoting responsible gun ownership.”

Besides gun shops, Macnab said her members also visit prisons and public schools.

“We’re not gun shop police,” she said. “One thing we do as a volunteer organization – we monitor things. We felt it was very important to do the survey that covered the state.”

Marion Hammer, former NRA president and executive director of the Unified

Marion Hammer

Marion Hammer

Sportsmen of Florida, said it was “not only ludicrous, it is comical for anyone to claim the League of Women Voters is not anti-gun.”

“Show me one time, just one time that they have ever done anything to support protection of Second Amendment rights, self-defense rights of the rights of law abiding gun owners,” Hammer said Wednesday. “Show me one time that the Florida League of Women Voters has ever spent any of their money on programs to protect children from gun accidents.  On the other hand, NRA has spent tens of millions of dollars on gun safety for children.  NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, that I personally helped create in 1988, has been taught gun safety over 27 million children.”

Patti Brigham, who chairs the Gun Safety Committee of the League of Women Voters of Florida, has lobbied against “assault weapons” and against allowing hunters to use suppressors.

According to her Twitter account, Brigham has told her followers: “Say NO to allowing hunters to use silencers on their firearms in Florida,” and “Imagine hunters using silencers on their guns. Scary. Write FL Fish & Wildlife Comm. and tell them you are NOT in favor of proposal!”

She also tweeted “Get rid of assault weapons,” and included a link to a CNN story.

Brigham said less than half of the gun shops had the warning signs, which she said are required by state law.

She was not aware of any other League in any other state conducting compliance checks in gun shops.

“I know the League is studying the issue,” she said. “We don’t look at this as a partisan issue. Our focus is on gun safety, not gun control.”

When I asked her if she was anti-gun, she dodged the question.

“I can only tell you that the League is not anti-gun. We’re not anti-Second Amendment,” she said. “We are for responsible gun ownership.”

Better ideas

In my opinion, the League needs to understand that 99.9 percent of gun owners know that allowing an unattended firearm to fall into the hands of a child is a bad thing, but hey, thanks for checking on the signs.

If the League is serious about keeping unattended firearms out of the hands of kids, they should send a check to NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, or the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafe.

Both of these programs have done far more to shield kids from the dangers posed by unattended firearms than any gun shop placard or compliance check.

Along those same lines, perhaps the League should change the focus of its “Guns Safety Committee” to a “Child Safety Committee.”

That way they could lobby and work toward preventing all of the causes of childhood injury and death, such as: abuse, neglect, drowning, vehicle accidents, poisoning, fires and accidents.

Please check back throughout the day as this story is updated.


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. When the person buys any gun in the shop 13 pages of electronic forms must be filled out and in those forms you are asked if you are buying for your sole use. Gun buyers understand that as anyone would. Carelessness exist in all families and accidents unfortunately happen from many items in the house. The article eludes to the NRA training which goes on at big sporting goods outlet stores all accross the country and they have been doing that for years witout the fanfare these groups seek.

  2. Exactly, Tri.

    And Eddie Eagle, which began in Florida, has done more than any program in history to protect kids.

  3. Pingback: League of Women Voters conduct compliance checks at Florida gun shops - The Gun Feed

  4. Insofar as they are a community service organization that has assumed the task of ensuring compliance with statute, I have no problem. Florida Carry does the same thing with respect to firearms preemption violators. However I’d like to see what statistics Ms. Brigham claims to have. According to the CDC WISQARS database, a total of 72 Florida children (ages 0 – 17) were killed in firearms related incidents in 2011. Of those, 45 were homicides and the remaining 17 were suicides. There were ZERO unintentional firearms deaths of children in Florida in 2011. Both suicide and homicide are intentional, and no amount of safe storage can prevent an intentional act. So the LWV is pursuing an unobtainable goal of reducing firearms deaths of Florida children.

    However like many gun control groups who claim to be pro-2A, they lose all credibility when calling for a ban of the “so-called” assault weapon. Found to be ineffective at any tangible reduction in gun homicides, the whole idea of banning the most popular rifle in the US, most gun control groups have conceded that a ban is a lost cause, as FBI data show rifles of any sort, of which “assault weapons” are a fraction, are responsible for the fewest deaths of any homicide weapon. In fact, over twice as many people are killed every year by bare hands and feet. Even shotgun deaths outnumber rifle deaths.

    What this tells me is that the leadership of the FL LWV is less fact-oriented and more propaganda driven than most mainstream gun hating organizations. “Our focus is on gun safety, not gun control.”

    Sure…in a pig’s eye.

  5. Thanks, Rich.

    I’ve said it before, anytime a group has to tell you they’re a Second Amendment supporter, they’re usually not.

  6. I would really love a copy of the law they are referring to. The 2014 Florida Statutes, Chapter 790, which is the entire section on firearms laws for the state, only had one section regarding signage that I could find.

    790.175 only requires us to display one item of signage and that is:


    If anyone can point me to the law they are referring to I will happily change my stance on the matter.

  7. So who has a problem with the public making sure some regulation is being followed? Not a big deal, hopefully what will come out of this that folks will realize that all in all, children are being kept safe from irresponsible gun use. Looks like FL has the highest rate of swimming pool deaths in the nation with about 0.2 per 100,000. If one filters out suicides, 2011 didn’t have any child accident gun deaths.

    Quite a contrast. If the LWV were a creidible organization, they’d focus on other causes than guns.

  8. after inspecting the gun stores they went into the gang and criminal controlled area’s of the various cities to explain their desire to require ALL gun owners and users to abide by the LAW and RULES of gun safety…..did I miss this wording in their comments to the reporter of this article…….just asking

  9. “Compliance Checks”?

    Compliance with WHAT? A demand of the LOWV?

    What gives these wymyn the idea that anyone is required to comply with their ditzy demands?

  10. “Patti Brigham, who chairs the Gun Safety Committee of the League of Women Voters of Florida, has lobbied against “assault weapons” and against allowing hunters to use suppressors.”

    Yeah! We wouldn’t want hunters hearing protected and areas quieter during hunting season, no would we!

    And as for the BLACK semi-autos that the racist bigot call “assault weapons!”
    Over TWICE as many people are killed in the US with fists and feet, than are killed with so called “assault weapons”.

  11. Pingback: Civic group making ‘compliance checks’ of gun shops in Florida | From the Trenches World Report

  12. (Open carry )if Ms. Brigham would read the laws she would know even concealed weapons holders are not allowed on Disney Property and in some state parks.
    Her comments about open carry are not correct.
    Thank You

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