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Spate of Bills Would Allow Floridians to Carry Guns at Colleges, Airports, Bars, Courthouses, Stadiums

| February 14, 2017

A series of gun bills introduced at the Florida Legislature would expand gun owners' rights under the law to more broadly  and openly carry guns. (christopher sebela)

A series of gun bills introduced at the Florida Legislature would expand gun owners’ rights under the law to more broadly and openly carry guns. (christopher sebela)

A measure that would reduce the penalty for people who briefly display a firearm in public and make it a non-criminal offense has been filed in the House.

The proposal (HB 779), filed Friday by Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, is identical to a bill (SB 646) filed by Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. Steube recently turned an omnibus gun measure (SB 140) into a series of bills.

Combee said his proposal would apply to people with concealed-weapons licenses. The proposal would change what is currently a second-degree misdemeanor charge — carrying a fine up to $500 and 60 days in jail — into a $25 noncriminal violation that can be paid to a county clerk of the court.

The proposal also would allow members of the state Cabinet — the attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner — to carry concealed weapons when unaccompanied by full-time Florida Department of Law Enforcement security.

As with the majority of other stand-alone gun-related measures by Steube, the proposal has yet to be scheduled to appear before a House or Senate committee.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Steube filed nine bills tied to gun ownership rights after telling reporters of his plan to separate the broader bill.

“Just from feeling the tea leaves, it’s probably better to attack it piece by piece,” Steube said at the time.

The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence has called Steube’s “flurry” of bills “dangerous.”

“The sheer breadth of his call to allow citizens to arm themselves in public, including at schools and airports, would extend legal gun carry opportunities to unprecedented levels in the state of Florida,” the coalition — whose members include the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida PTA, Equality Florida and Doctors for America — said in a release.

Florida Carry attorney Eric Friday said Monday that the Second Amendment advocacy group supports Steube’s effort, either as a single bill or as a series of proposals.

“Sen. Steube is fighting to restore the right of people to defend themselves,” Friday said in an email.

Among Steube’s other bills is a proposal (SB 610) that could lead to businesses being held liable if they prevent concealed-carry permit holders from bringing firearms onto their property and the permit holders get injured by other people or animals.

Among the more prominent of Steube’s revised efforts is a bill that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry handguns (SB 644) and to carry firearms on college and university campuses (SB 622).

Both proposals stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, but the former chairman of the committee, Republican Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami, is no longer in the Legislature.

Other proposals by Steube include a measure (SB 618) that would allow people to carry guns in airport terminals; a measure (SB 620) that would allow people to carry guns at legislative meetings; a measure (SB 626) that would allow people to carry guns at local-government meetings; a measure (SB 640) that would allow people to carry guns at career centers; and a measure that would allow concealed firearms licensees to temporarily surrender firearms at courthouse security.

The airport terminal proposal is identical to a measure (HB 6001) filed in November by Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia.

In December, Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, introduced a House version of the campus-carry measure (HB 6005).

The campus-carry proposal faces opposition by university and college leaders, campus law- enforcement officials and faculty members. The Florida Sheriffs Association has opposed efforts to allow open-carry in Florida.

Separately, Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, on Monday filed his own measure (SB 908) that would allow the 1.7 million concealed weapons permit-holders in Florida to carry at the state’s 15 seaports. The proposal also would delete provisions in state law that bar carrying concealed weapons at police and sheriff’s stations, jails, courthouses, polling places, colleges, professional sporting events and establishments where alcohol is sold for consumption on site. The measure also would delete a provision that prohibits people from carrying firearms in places prohibited by federal law.

Baxley also filed a pair of measures (SB 912 and SJR 910) on Monday that would ask voters in November 2018 or in an earlier special election to amend the state Constitution to exempt law enforcement officers and “qualified” retired officers from having to wait three days to purchase handguns.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Spate of Bills Would Allow Floridians to Carry Guns at Colleges, Airports, Bars, Courthouses, Stadiums”

  1. Common Sense says:

    This is madness. We are going back to the wild west.

  2. Veteran says:

    Those of us with concealed carry permits don’t go into these places to kill people, but we can stop the nuts WITHOUT a permit from killing people. That is common sense. I do not believe concealed weapons should be permitted in bars.

  3. YankeeExPat says:

    Finally,…… I can carry my Blunderbuss to protect myself from the Seminoles and the Huguenots.

  4. palmcoaster says:

    This is just Nuts proposals!

  5. Dutch says:

    The state of Florida needs to become an open carry state. And there should be no gun free zones for those who have concealed carry permits, it’s nothing more than an infringement on law abiding citizens second amendment rights….

  6. righttocarry says:

    I’m a well informed, practice handling and training with my 380 when ever I have the chance, and if ever in a situation where I need to pull my gun, be it anywhere I’m allowed to legally carry, I’m going to use it to the best of my ability to defend myself and those around me. Hopefully I’ll never be in this position as I don’t go looking for problems ! It’s my God given right the day I was born ! So be it to those who wish to forego that right, don’t look to me to protect you but if you should happen to be in my surroundings should I ever have to defend us as a group, you can thank me afterwards ! And, go on with your life, you may have lost ! I don’t carry to hurt people, and never hope to have to. I know there are bad people who have guns and those people don’t care about laws, make all the laws you want, prohibiting people from any means of gun usuage,, the only people who’ll follow the laws are those who follow the laws, like me ! The rest will do as they want. What is it you nay sayers want ? I don’t get it ! Sorry for my rant, I’m a normal citizen with a born right to have my gun ! Rant over !!!

  7. George says:

    The Florida Sheriffs Association has opposed efforts to allow open-carry in Florida.

    The Florida Sheriffs Aassociaton will not publish how many “Honorary Members” they have but doing the math by their 2015 Audit report it indicates that they had $3,466,025 in dues and contributions. So on an average Membership dues of $25.00 Maybe the President of the Association should consider their approximately 138,641 member .. Realizing that the organization is run by 67 Florida Sheriffs. Perhaps they should consult the paying members when they decide whether or not to support OPEN CARRY !!

  8. common-sense says:

    While it may seem “nuts”, Florida is one of only 7, yes, SEVEN of the United States that doesn’t allow full time open carry. Licensed or not. You can even obtain a permit to openly display a firearm in California of all places. While I agree that guns in bars is a very bad idea, in general, you don’t hear of any regularly occurring “wild west” situations in any of the 43 states that allow this.

  9. Andy says:

    Guns guns guns!!! Firearms are the answer! Social inequality? Guns! Student safety? Guns!! Reproductive health? Guns! Trade deficit? Guns! Mental health care programs? Guns! Commerce and retail? Guns!!! Guns for kindergarten teachers, guns for lower income families! Guns for college students! Guns for bouncers! Guns for garbage men and postal workers and librarians and dental hygienists and guns for retired ladies playing bingo!!!!! GUNS SOLVE it all, can’t wait til Obama has to give back all those firearms that the Right said he was gonna take away in the past 8 years!!! Freedom!!!!

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