Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices. Data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have concealed carry permits.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider a proposal that would allow county tax collectors to accept applications for concealed-weapon or firearms licenses. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services currently accepts the applications at regional locations, but supporters of the bill say it would address increasing demands. The proposal comes as lawmakers move forward with bills backed by the National Rifle Association. But it also comes as a verdict this weekend in a highly publicized Jacksonville shooting places renewed focus on Florida’s gun laws.
The number of concealed weapons license holders will top 5 percent of Florida’s 19.1 million residents in a state that is number one nationally in licenses issued.
Ronald Thompson, a 65-year-old disabled veteran, is serving 20 years for firing two shots in the ground to protect an elderly neighbor from her grandson and three of his friends. The mandatory sentence spotlights a recurring dilemma with Florida’s sentencing laws.
Flagler County, like Palm Coast and other local governments across the state, are scrapping local gun regulations to comply with a state law that prohibits local governments from regulating guns or ammo in any way. The Flagler County Commission has no choice but to comply as it takes up the issue Monday evening.
Although Florida was the first to enact a Stand Your Ground law, 24 other states enforce similar versions. Some of the most notable cases where a version of the Stand Your Ground law has led to freedom from criminal prosecution are highlighted.
The number of concealed weapons permits has risen dramatically in recent years as new laws making it easier to obtain them have been placed on the books by lawmakers, spurred on by the National Rifle Association, one of the most effective lobbying forces in the capital city.
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One bill would penalize local governments with stricter gun restrictions than the state. Another would muzzle doctors’ abilities to ask their patients about gun ownership.
The Senate proposal adds financial penalties of between $5,000 and $100,000 on cities and counties with stricter gun regulations than the state, and removes a longstanding shield protecting elected and appointed officials from civil lawsuits relating to their job function.