Orange County leaders vote to close gun purchase loophole

Orange County leaders passed a new ordinance Tuesday that would go against state law and make it more difficult to buy a gun.
After two hours of discussion, commissioners unanimously voted to create a 3-day waiting period and background checks for gun purchases.
Currently, licensed gun dealers are required to run a background check on buyers and wait three days before completing a sale. But at gun shows or flea markets, private gun dealers don’t have to meet those requirements.
After two hours of discussion, commissioners unanimously voted to change that, and require those unlicensed dealers to follow the same rules as licensed ones.
The board's vote left some cheering and others furious.
“I support people who are passionate about the second amendment. It is a right, but we know with all rights come responsibilities, with all rights come restrictions,” said Andrea Halperin of Moms Demand Action Orlando.
Halperin said ending this workaround can save lives.
She noted the thousands of people prevented from buying guns in Florida each year because of background checks.

Orange County, Fla. — "Imagine how many more could be prevented from getting guns if we closed the loopholes? I mean, why are there loopholes? Why do some people have to have a background check and others don't?" said Halperin. 
Resident David Quiros said closing the loophole just prevents law-abiding people who need guns quickly from getting them.

“Putting an ordinance in there that helps somebody wait three days and they're fearing for their safety, and they're fearing for their life, doesn't make any sense to me,” said Quiros.
Also at issue was whether the county even could pass the ordinance.
Some believe state law prevents counties from regulating firearms, but Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs disagrees.
“We feel like we are on solid ground,” she said
Jacobs said she would revisit this ordinance in three months.
But in 2011, the state implemented a law allowing the governor's office to remove that person from office and strip their ability to use government funds to fight removal if they tried.
“It’s a gun. You have the same ability to cause harm and I think the same background check and waiting period should apply,” Jacobs said.
For years, the stiff penalties had county leaders keep the ordinance off the books.
"You can bet this is going to cost litigation," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said. "The affected buyer and seller is going to argue that the county is doing something that only the state can do -- that's regulate the sell of firearms. They are going to argue that the penalty provision enacted in 2011 is going to provide removal of these officials from office and a
$5,000 fine."
But Jacobs feels she has enough support given the recent school shootings including the one in Parkland.
"I feel 100 percent confident, and I'm almost never 100 percent confident," she said.
Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey questioned whether the cost of background checks could leave private sellers on an unfair playing field.
"If we are going to require them to do it, we have to give them a way for them to actually do the background check," VanderLey said.
But Winter Park resident Wes Hodge said background checks are prudent.
"I think it's reasonable that we know who is purchasing a gun in our community," he said.
Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.