The bill, which still must be passed by the state Senate and also by Governor Ron DeSantis, would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Federal law mandates that, across the United States, handguns can only be purchased by individuals 21 and older. States can determine, however, what age a person can purchase a rifle or long gun in their jurisdictions.
Through 2018, Florida law allowed people 18 and older to purchase such guns.
Responding to calls for stricter gun regulations in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting, however, in which a 19-year-old gunman killed 17 individuals, mostly students, the legislature passed a bill to increase the age limit to 21 in a rare bipartisan move.
On Friday, the state House passed House Bill 1543, by a count of 69 to 36, but some Democratic lawmakers and movements opposed to the proposal.
“You made a promise to the parents and the citizens of Florida that you were going to keep us safe,” Rep. Robin Bartleman, a Democrat who served on the school board that manages Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the shooting happened, said to her Republican colleagues who were present for the 2018 vote. “And now, today, you’re taking all of that back. I don’t know how you can do that.”
Prevent Gun Violence Florida, on the other hand, considered that the authorization of such regulation is an embarrassment for the state House representatives.
“This is a betrayal of all Floridians, particularly the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community. What a sad day for Florida!,” Bartleman live-tweeted.
According to the Gun Violence Archive site, there have been 190 mass shootings in the United States so far this year.
Due to this, over 14,000 Americans lost their lives, and 594 of them were under 17.