As the U.S. Senate deliberates on expanding background checks from federally licensed gun dealers to gun show sales and online transactions, the Tampa Bay Times points out that a handful of Florida counties already have such gun laws.
The problem? They are largely unenforced.
In 1998, 72 percent of voters amended the Florida Constitution to permit local municipalities to require criminal records checks on all private gun sales, according to the Sun Sentinel, even though the National Rifle Association reportedly spent more than $150,000 in advertising to defeat the amendment.
In the 25 years since, seven of the state's 67 counties have adopted such laws -- like Miami-Dade, which approved mandatory criminal records checks on all gun sales in 1998.
Although the Dade ordinance dictates a $500 or 60-day sentence penalty for not conducting a background check before a firearm sale, such violations are very often ignored.
The Tampa Bay Times attributes the oversight to the violations being a "low priority for law enforcement" as well as a confusing 2011 state law that made many officials mistakenly believe the county ordinances has been voided. Read the extensive report at the Tampa Bay Times.
Before a universal background checks law was passed in Palm Beach County, critics said such laws were ineffective because they only apply "to gun sales in locations with public access, [and] dealers can meet prospective buyers at gun shows and later conduct transactions in private," reported the Sun Sentinel.
On the national level, 73 percent of Americans favor universal background checks, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Meanwhile GOP lawmakers have pledged to filibuster gun control legislation, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who compared such background checks to an invasion of privacy as if the government inquired "when or how often they go to church or what they eat for breakfast or what books they are reading from the library."
Click below to see which Florida counties already have laws that close the "gun show loophole":