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In Blow to NRA, Florida Legislature Will Holster Open-Carry and Other Gun Bills

| December 6, 2017

Gun bills may remain holstered in the coming session of the Florida Legislature. (LudaChris550)

Gun bills may remain holstered in the coming session of the Florida Legislature. (LudaChris550)

With the 2018 legislative session still more than a month away, gun-related measures might have died Tuesday in the Senate.


The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been a stumbling block in recent years for Second Amendment-related bills, narrowly rejected proposals that sought to allow Floridians with concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms up to the entrances of courthouses (SB 134); inadvertently display handguns (SB 148); and pack heat at religious institutions that include private schools or day-care facilities (SB 274).

Also, committee Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who sponsored two of the proposals, said after the meeting he has no intention of reviving some more-controversial measures from past years. Those measures sought to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms and to carry guns into airport terminals and on university and college campuses.

“You saw what happened here today,” Steube said.

Tuesday’s votes came as lawmakers hold committee meetings to prepare for the 2018 session, which starts Jan. 9. Opposition on the Judiciary Committee to the gun-related bills came — as it has in the past — from Democrats and some South Florida Republicans.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, said he couldn’t support gun-related measures that fail to address mental-health issues. Also, he said the Senate should stick with a compromise it reached during the 2017 session on guns at religious institutions. The Senate compromise was rejected by the House.

“It’s not about the policy, but the process, and about what I think we as a Senate should be standing up for and holding our position,” Garcia said.

The Senate version during the 2017 session would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at religious institutions outside of school hours or when school activities weren’t occurring.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, agreed with Garcia that the compromise language should have been maintained.

Flores, who voted against all three bills, also said a change was needed on the bill dealing with allowing the inadvertent display of handguns. Such a change would indicate the temporary display was conducted in a “non-threatening manner.”

“Right now, the way that bill reads is, it allows temporary and openly displaying, that would allow brandishing, and that is a concern of mine,” Flores said.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who called the religious-institution proposal a private property-rights measure, said with 2018 an election year it’s important to know who isn’t being truthful in their support of Second Amendment issues.

“We had Republicans who joined the Democrats as obstructionists last year, and bills would be (temporarily postponed), which was a type of protectionism for Republicans,” Hammer said. “This year, thankfully, they voted. They’ve been outed, and now we can report it.”

Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, argued in support of the religious-institution measure to prevent a repeat of carnage that occurred last month at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“What we have in place right now, people are getting killed and there is no one there to stop them,” Mayfield said.

On Nov. 5, 26 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a gunman started firing into a Baptist church from across the street, before making his way into the building. The gunman, who later died of a self-inflicted wound, was shot twice as he exited the church.

Sen, Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican who sponsored the religious-institution proposal, said the two sides in the debate might never come to an agreement.

“The real compromise we’re looking for is between two very different schools of thought,” Stargel said. “One is, having less guns in the community is going to create less crime and less violence. And the other school of thought is my school of thought, which is personal responsibility, which is I don’t want to designate to somebody else my responsibility to protect myself and my family.”

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “In Blow to NRA, Florida Legislature Will Holster Open-Carry and Other Gun Bills”

  1. Paula says:

    “National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who called the religious-institution proposal a private property-rights measure, said with 2018 an election year it’s important to know who isn’t being truthful in their support of Second Amendment issues.”

    Glad the legislators stood up to the threat of withdrawal of funds from the NRA.

    Now if they just do the same, and resist the deep pockets of the short-term rental industry, and let communities decide what is best for them, we’ll be getting somewhere.

  2. Pogo says:

    @NRA drunk on blood money

    Hammer is truly shameless. Every time I hear or read her name I smell death.

  3. Shark says:

    Thank God – too many wanna be cops. Most of them are not qualified to carry !!!!!!

  4. Dave says:

    Now if we can jus get rid of that concealed carry law, we won’t have to have the stress or worry about who has a gun on them when we are jus out having a good time

  5. Trailer Bob says:

    For Obvious reasons I do not agree with open carry. What good is it if the bad guys are going to conceal and at the same time see who has a gun in the open so they can shoot those folks first. The element of surprise is what I see as me being able to protect myself and others, not to let the bad guy know I am a threat. Also, it should be left up to the church whether or not guns are allowed on the premise, not some elected official who is afraid of upsetting voters.

  6. Brian says:

    The NRA is the only organization in America that continually gets blamed for actions their members did not commit.

  7. knightwatch says:

    The Florida legislature is insanely conservative, but apparently still has some active brain cells. Who would’ve thought?

  8. GWOT Veteran says:

    The beauty of concealed carry is that you don’t know when I do it, even if I am in a church, good luck enforcing this.

  9. Pogo says:

    @NRA spends its blood money on a pedophile without telling its members

    NRA quietly moves to help Roy Moore win the Alabama Senate election
    https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/12/07/nra-quietly-moves-help-roy-moore-win-alabama-senate-election/218769

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