TALLAHASSEE, FL—In the aftermath of three deaths in a Jacksonville incident that represented the state’s 22nd mass shooting in 2018 alone, Florida officials announced Monday that they had passed a strict ban on being unarmed. “It is abundantly clear that something must be done to stop gun violence in Florida, which is why we’ve made it illegal for residents to not be carrying a firearm at all times,” said Governor Rick Scott in a press conference surrounded by armed legislators where he signed the bipartisan SB 5012, known as the Packing Heat Act, into law. “This ban on unarmed citizens is the strictest in the nation, showing Florida’s unwavering commitment to combating gun violence. The Packing Heat Act imposes tough age restrictions prohibiting anyone under the age of 10 from not toting at least one firearm no smaller than .380 caliber at all times. Additionally, this law designates many densely populated areas, such as the downtowns of major cities, school campuses, and medical facilities, as special open-fire zones. Those found in unlawful non-possession of a firearm will be subject to up to 30 years in prison.” At press time, governors of several states, including Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina, announced that they were exploring legislation imposing similar bans on being unarmed.

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