Pro-Gun-Rights Bills Filed Early in Florida

gun rights legislation
Florida State Sen. Greg Steube

Undeterred by recent legislative setbacks, State Sen. Greg Steube has reintroduced legislation intended to boost gun rights and public safety in Florida.

In mid-August, Steube filed Senate Bills 120, 134, 148, and 152 for the Legislature’s 2018 session. The first three mirror gun rights bills Steube filed in 2017, but they got no traction.

“It’s not surprising Sen. Steube is rebounding with a roster of pro-public safety legislation,” said David Katz, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®. “He has been a stalwart in the Legislature—first in the House, and now in the Senate—for protecting Floridians’ Second Amendment rights.”

SB 120 would require businesses that ban the carrying of concealed firearms, even by those with CCW permits, to be responsible for the safety of people who would otherwise legally be carrying a gun.

In comments carried by TheBlaze, via the Tallahassee Democrat, Steube said, “If a private business wants to prohibit guns in their location that’s fine. But if you’re prohibiting me from carrying, and I’m licensed to carry, then you’re assuming the responsibility to have adequate security in place to protect me.”

Under SB 134, people with concealed-carry licenses would be able to keep their guns all the way up to a courthouse security checkpoint, and temporarily surrender them there, instead of leaving them in their vehicles.

SB 120 copies 2017’s SB 610, which, along with other pro-gun bills from Steube, died while stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the session adjourned.

Steube, a Sarasota Republican, is the chairman of that committee.

Other Steube bills that died there tried to legalize concealed carry at airports (SB 618), school or college athletic events (SB 622), local government meetings (SB 626), career training centers (SB 640), and public meetings at the Legislature (SB 620).

Also dead in the Judiciary Committee was Steube’s bill that would have legalized concealed weapons license holders to carry handguns openly (SB 644).

The same thing happened to another gun rights bill that intended to clarify that it’s not a crime to temporarily reveal a gun that started out concealed (SB 646). That bill also would have authorized Florida Cabinet members to carry concealed firearms if they are licensed to do so and don’t have full-time security from the Department of Law Enforcement.

Also for 2018, Steube filed SB 148, which revives key parts of SB 646. The new bill provides that “a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon or firearm does not violate certain provisions if the firearm is temporarily and openly displayed, etc.”

The fourth new gun bill, SB 152, would allow the electronic handling of payments or transmittal of processing fees for criminal history checks on potential gun buyers.

Steube’s 2017 bills drew opposition in the Judiciary Committee by four pro-gun-control Democrats and one Republican, State Sen. Anitere Flores, Katz explained.

Flores is considered the second most powerful Republican in the Senate, but she doesn’t agree with Steube on his gun legislation, Katz said.

“Consequently,” Katz added, “Sen. Steube’s bills had no chance of getting out of committee, and that’s where they died when the session adjourned.”

Steube’s SB 616, the original “courthouse bill” won the Senate’s approval with a 19-15 vote. Flores did not vote either way on that issue, Senate records show. But the House never considered it, so it died too.

“Look, these are high-profile issues with strong supporters and opponents on both sides,” Katz said. “They’re bound to be contentious, and that’s why it’s important that people like Greg are still fighting. He fully understands-self defense and the Second Amendment.”

The Legislature reconvenes Jan. 9, 2018, although committees, including the Senate Judiciary, start hearing bills in mid-September, according to official schedules.

— Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. LawShield® blog


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