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Bill to Keep Guns From Children Signed in Florida

From Associated Press

Gov. Bob Martinez on Wednesday signed legislation requiring gun owners to keep weapons out of the reach of children.

The signing occurred a day after a Florida child had wounded himself in the finger in the sixth shooting since June 1 of the type that the law is designed to prevent.

“This will assist in protecting our children throughout the state,” Martinez said. “The added public awareness will prompt adults to keep guns out of reach.”

The law, effective Oct. 1, requires gun owners to keep loaded weapons under lock and out of the hands of children age 15 and younger. It also authorizes the development of a gun safety program in Florida schools.

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If a child shoots himself or someone else because of a gun left within reach, the adult could be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A gun owner faces a misdemeanor charge and up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if a minor threatens someone with the gun or displays it in public.

There are exceptions for hunting and target-shooting accidents and those involving stolen guns.

Three children died and two were wounded in the earlier shootings.


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