Guns and Gear

Gun Advocates Sue Florida Authorities, Allege Waiting Period Abuses

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A group called Florida Carry filed a lawsuit Monday against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), alleging the agency is slow-walking gun background checks.

The gun-rights group is accusing the FDLE of delaying some gun pre-purchase background checks, which state law requires be performed within 24 “working hours” (defined in the law as the hours between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.), or three days, beginning March 2018.

Some applicants have been forced to wait for up to seven months, according to Eric Friday, the group’s attorney, in an interview with Fox35.

“Somehow FDLE has gotten the idea that that three-day background requirement no longer applies to them, and that they can just ignore it and ignore it indefinitely with no time limit,” he said.

The lawsuit is brought by Florida Carry on behalf of three plaintiffs who claim their background checks were unreasonably delayed, according to court documents obtained by Fox35. One of the plaintiffs claims to have provided certified proof that he could legally purchase a gun, and still got delayed.

“FDLE is making up their own rules and agencies in Florida don’t get to make up their own rules,” Friday added.

The gun group claims the FDLE started using the “pending” status for background checks more after the Parkland bill passed in March 2018, raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, creating a waiting period to purchase guns and permitting some school employees to carry guns. (RELATED: Florida Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Goes To Governor)

The Parkland bill was named after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland in February 2018. Seventeen high school students and staff were killed by a lone gunman during the shooting.

The FDLE has not issued any response to Florida Carry’s lawsuit, and did not immediately return TheDCNF’s request for comment.

Whatever the reason for the background check delays, Friday is skeptical that they are ultimately effective:

“Almost every active shooter in this country went through a background check and passed it.”

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