DATE: June 8, 2006
TO: USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
NRA Past President
Executive Director Unified Sportsmen of Florida
We are very pleased to tell you that yesterday, Governor Jeb Bush (R) signed into law, SIX pro-gun and pro-hunting bills supported by NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida. That is a record number of major pro-gun & and pro-hunting bills passed in a single Florida legislative session under any Senate President or Speaker of the House and signed in one ceremony by any Governor in Florida.
Special thanks go to Senate President Tom Lee (R-10) and House Speaker Allan Bense (R-6) for their extraordinary help in passing these six bills to restore rights and freedoms to law-abiding firearms owners in Florida. The individual sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills deserve our gratitude for their efforts on our behalf.
We simply could not have done this without your help. Your work and responsiveness to our alerts and in sending email and making phone calls to legislators in support of these great bills made the difference. Thank you for answering freedom's call. These are the bills YOU HELPED PASS:
(1) HB-125 Hunter Voter Bill
A bill to make it easier for hunters and fishermen to register to vote. Passed the Florida Legislature 4/28/06.
HB-125 Sponsored by Representative Greg Evers (R-Milton) in the House and Senator Carey Baker (R-Eustis) in the Senate will offer people who buy resident hunting and fishing licenses three new opportunities to register to vote.
1. People who purchase a hunting or fishing license by phone will have the opportunity to have a voter registration form mailed to them.
2. People who purchase a hunting or fishing license online will have a link that takes them to a voter registration site.
3. People who purchase a hunting or fishing license from an agent authorized to sell hunting and fishing licenses, will be asked if they would like a voter registration application to take home and fill out and mail in later.
The bill passed the House 110-6 and passed the Senate 31-8. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.
(2) HB-265 No-Net-Loss of Hunting Lands
A bill to protect hunting lands and our hunting heritage. Passed the Florida Legislature 5/4/06.
HB-265 Sponsored by Representative Don Brown (R-DeFuniak Springs) in the House and Senator Nancy Argenziano (R-Crystal River) in the Senate does the following:
1. Establishes a baseline number of acres of public hunting lands, equal to the number of acres open for hunting on the effective date of this act.
2. Requires the Florida Wildlife & Conservation Commission (FWC) to find replacement hunting lands for any public hunting lands that are closed in the future so the number of hunting acres does not fall below the base line.
3. Requires FWC to try to find replacement hunting lands in the same region as the lost acreage and to the extent possible, allow the same type of hunting as was allowed on the closed land.
4. Requires state agencies and water management districts to assist and cooperate with FWC and allow hunting on lands they manage if the land is suitable for hunting. However, state parks are excluded from lands that may be used for replacement lands.
The bill passed the House 118-0 and passed the Senate 40-0. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.
(3) HB-285 No Confiscation of Firearms During Emergencies
A bill to prohibit confiscation of firearms following hurricanes (such as was done in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina). Passed the Florida Legislature 5/3/06.
HB-285 Sponsored by Representative Mitch Needelman (R-Melbourne) in the House and Senators Carey Baker (R-Eustis) and Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) in the Senate does the following:
1. Amends the Emergency Management Powers Act to prohibit the governor from ordering or authorizing the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.
2. Amends the Emergency Management Powers Act to prohibit any public official from ordering or authorizing the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.
The bill passed the House 116-0 and passed the Senate 40-0. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.
(4) HB-687 Public Records Exemption of CCW License Holders Information
A bill to protect the privacy rights of concealed weapons and firearms license holders Passed the Florida Legislature 5/2/06
HB-687 Sponsored by Representative Sandy Adams (R-Orlando) in the House and Senator Mike Haridopolis (R-Melbourne) in the Senate does the following:
1. Exempts the personal identifying information (names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, phone numbers, & license numbers) contained in records maintained by the Division of Licensing of DOACS of individuals who have applied for or received licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms.
2. Makes the data available to law enforcement for law enforcement purposes.
3. Stops harassment of license holders by the media. Protects license holders from identity theft, stalkers, domestic violence abusers and thieves.
In the past the media have posted names, addresses, birth dates, and other personal identifying information on websites and have printed them in newspapers. Such reckless conduct subjects license holders to possible identity theft, theft of firearms by criminals and tells domestic violence abusers and stalkers where to find victims who have moved to hide themselves and their children from these predators.
The bill passed the House 83-27 and passed the Senate 37-2. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.
(5) HB-1029 Firearms in National Forests & State Parks
A bill to restore the right to possess firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes while in National Forests and State Parks in Florida. Passed the Florida Legislature 5/2/06.
HB-1029 Sponsored by Representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) in the House and Senator Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) in the Senate does the following:
1. Repeals the law that bans firearms in National Forests in Florida (s. 790.11, 790.12, 790.14)
2. Directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to repeal its rule that bans firearms in State Parks (rule 62D-2.014(10).
3. Requires that all other applicable firearms laws be followed.
4. Requires that a new rule be formulated by DEP that allows firearms in state parks and stipulates that firearms shall at all times be in the possession of a responsible party or properly secured within or to a vehicle or temporary housing, which shall include motor homes, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, campers, tents, or other enclosed structures, while in state parks.
The law being repealed is obsolete. There are public shooting ranges in Florida's National Forests. FWC officers teach the firearms portion of Hunter Safety courses at these ranges and have been very concerned about violating this obsolete law. Further, there homes in National Forests and the old law violates their firearms rights. The DEP regulation that prohibits firearms in state parks VIOLATES state law (790.33)
The bill passed the House 90-27 and passed the Senate 31-6. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.
(6) SB-1290 Concealed Weapons/License Renewal for U.S. Armed Services Members
A bill to assist men and women serving on active duty in military service to our nation with renewal of their concealed weapons and firearms licenses.
SB-1290 Sponsored by Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) in the Senate and Representative Marti Coley (R-Panama City) in the House does the following:
1. Applies only to men and women serving in the U.S. armed services, who are on active duty away from home.
2. Provides that concealed weapons and firearms licenses of such servicemembers will not expire while they are serving on military orders that have taken them away from home.
3. Extends such licenses for an additional 180 days after they return home from active duty assignment so that they may be renewed without late fees or penalties.
The bill passed the House 120-0 and passed the Senate 39-0. Signed into law by Governor Bush on 6/7/06.