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Manasquan, NJ --(Ammoland.com)- Insurance companies could face tougher penalties if they impose higher rates or take other actions against auto or homeowner policyholders due to lawful gun ownership — or ammunition possession — under a measure that received its second House committee backing on Wednesday.

While Florida law already prohibits such actions, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee in an 8-2 vote approved a bill (HB 255) by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, that would provide a court remedy to policyholders. Along with higher rates, the bill would target insurers that might refuse to issue or renew policies or cancel policies because of gun ownership.

“The laws that we have on the books now only allow the government to step in and stop an insurance company from discriminating against someone for exercising a constitutional right,” Gaetz said. “As of now they would be blocked at the courthouse steps.”

The committee also agreed to amend the bill, backed by the National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida, to include a ban on crafting insurance policies that discriminate against people for possession of ammunition. The measure must still get through the House Regulatory Affairs Committee.

The Senate version (SB 424) has already been backed by the Banking and Insurance and the Criminal Justice committees and has only to clear the Appropriations Committee before reaching the Senate floor.

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