TAMPA, Fla. - A new bill in Washington, being filed by Democratic St. Petersburg Rep. Charlie Crist and others, would require foreign nationals to apply to the US Attorney General to buy a gun.
Though bipartisan bills in Washington are rare, especially when it comes to guns, this bill has broad support. It would close a so-called hunting license loophole, which lawmakers say the shooter who killed three at Naval Air Station Pensacola used to buy a weapon legally.
Republican Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville calls the legislation "crucial" and Orlando Democrat Val Demings said it's "common sense."
The bill, which is also sponsored by Democratic St. Petersburg Rep. Charlie Crist, would require foreign nationals to apply to the US Attorney General to buy a gun. They say it would bring more thorough background checks and continual oversight to the gun buying process.
Saudi foreign national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was training alongside US troops, learning to fly, as part of a three-year training program at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
All he needed in order to get the gun he used to kill three sailors, including St. Pete's Mohamed Haitham, was a hunting license.
It incensed Florida's governor.
"The Second Amendment applies so we, the American people, can keep and bear arms. It does not apply to Saudi Arabians," Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
There is also a discussion underway on whether foreign nationals should be banned from training here at all.
"For us to be bringing in these foreign nationals, you have to take precautions to protect the country," said DeSantis.
Sen. Rick Scott said this was entirely preventable and the shooter should have been vetted more carefully. He has called for hearings.
On closing the gun loophole, the Florida senate also plans to investigate whether there is anything the state can do.
Read the full bill here: https://crist.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1821