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Politics

Greg Steube: In Wake of Airport Shooting, Open Carry Needed Now More Than Ever

January 11, 2017 - 2:30pm
Greg Steube
Greg Steube

Last week’s shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport hasn’t put a dent in Sen. Greg Steube’s plan to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their firearms in airports. In fact, it’s only strengthened his resolve to pass the legislation, which he says is desperately needed to prevent future mass shootings in the Sunshine State. 

“The situation at the airport further puts a big spotlight on the fact that gun free zones and laws that prevent law abiding citizens to carry.. the only person that protects is the criminal,” Steube told Sunshine State News Wednesday.

Steube’s proposal, SB 140, would lift some “gun free” zones in Florida where carrying firearms is prohibited, even for concealed carry permit holders.

If passed, the bill would allow Florida's 1.7 million CCW permit holders to openly carry their firearms. The more sweeping part of the measure, however, would eliminate gun-free zones in places like secondary schools, local centers and government meeting areas. 

Airports are also included.

Since last week’s shooting which left five dead and six wounded, Steube’s phone has been ringing off the hook. On Tuesday, the day the bill was supposed to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee, his district office received 120 calls alone.

He doesn’t understand why there’s such a resistance to CCW permit holders carrying their firearms around since they have to undergo background checks.  Statistically speaking, permit holders follow the letter of the law.

A 2015 report found CCW permit holders committed crimes at a much lower rate than police officers did. A Police Quarterly study from 2005 to 2007 saw an average of 103 crimes by police per 100,000 officers. 

Florida revoked nearly 10,000 concealed handgun permits between 1987 and 2015 for misdemeanors or felonies, an annual rate of around 13 per 100,000 permit holders. 

With statistics like these, Steube says, the average person should feel much more confident with a CCW permit holder carrying a firearm than a police officer.

“They are more law-abiding than law enforcement officers,” he said on permit holders. “If you feel comfortable with a cop walking around a gun on his hip, you should feel 10 times more comfortable with a concealed carry permit holder carrying a gun.”

“What valid reason do you have to deny my constitutional right to defend myself in certain areas of the state?” 

While it’s likely the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups will support the legislation, Steube says he hasn’t bent to their will nor has he consulted them in the bill drafting process. 

Florida Carry listed Steube’s bill as one they’re supporting during this year’s legislative session, which begins in March.

Gun safety advocates vehemently oppose the legislation and say it will usher in a new wave of fear in designated “safe places.”

“Floridians have the right to be in an airport, a nightclub or on college campuses without the fear of possibly being gunned down,” said Michelle Gajda, a volunteer leader from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s Florida chapter. “Let us stand together in honor of today’s victims and demand our lawmakers make public safety a top priority once and for all.”

Steube finds himself in a position of good fortune this go-around, since he now chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, the place where many pro-gun bills went to die last year under former Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla. 

“With the makeup of the Senate, I feel pretty comfortable the bill...will pass,” Steube said. “It’s just a matter of [time] to create a path to get the legislation through.”

 

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

 

Comments

I'll repeat - seems to have worked for Trump!

Does anyone remember the movies of John Wayne when someone open fired and everyone else did too? Remember all the little old ladies on the sidewalk falling over dead?

Gee, yes I do. It was a MOVIE. The movie makes money by making you feel for that poor little old dead lady, who gets paid a lot of money to drop where she does. But you must understand, it's a MOVIE. It's not real. It does not reflect a real fight, or a real event, because it's a fantasy western based on making you, the TV viewer, believe a fiction so you'll buy a razor or a soda. Pop your silly head out of the television and join the rest of us real life people. There were about eight gunfights in the 80+ years of the old west, and almost all of them were in town with anti-gun laws. Carry Open, Carry Often, Carry Proud

Is that YOU "little 'd' doctor"? Don't watch movies much, do you? I suppose this is an example of how you pontificate to your "empty slate" students... You're a disgrace and a failure, as a 'd'octor and as an educator.

Hollywood fiction.

Gun free zones are a false sense of security. Criminals and terrorists look at them as a target rich environment. Since all these people believe that the government has a right to pass laws and regulations that infringe my 2nd amendment rights. I believe it is prudent and nessesary to institute laws and rules that control the 1st amendment rights of the anti-constitutional activities of the anti-gun groups! The 2nd amendment is the only amendment that says Shall not be infringed. The 9th and 10th amendments are the ones that say the government doesn't have the Constitutional power to do what they are doing.

Greg Steube is a coward. If he passes a bill that allows concealed or open carriage on college campuses or anywhere alcohol is in play but doesnot allow guns on the Senate floor - he is a coward. If innocent people are to be killed then the Senate floor should just as available as any college campus. He is a hack pandering to the NRA.

Really? **sigh** He advocates self defense, you advocate disarmed victims and emboldened criminals. It's clear which side of this issue you stand on.

Bzzt. Wrong. The same bill includes the repeal of the prohibition of licensed carry at meetings of the Legislature and its committees. But you won't apologize for calling combat veteran Sen. Steube a coward, will you? How does that foot taste?

I didn't know he was a combat veteran. If he is, I'll plan to visit the meeting and say hello if I can.

State House member since 2010, former U.S. Army captain, Iraq War combat veteran.

Dumb and dangerous. So a bad guy starts shooting, and good guys return fire. Cops come in the mix; will there be a time out so they can tell the good guys from the bad? Or maybe the good guys should wear a sign that says, "Don't shoot! I'm a good guy!" Do what other areas do: Have armed LEO's very visible in airports so all the good guys w guns have on a uniform.

I love these scenarios. In a recent court case the defense said, "You could have a crazy pull your gun out of your holster and start shooting." The judge asked, "Has this ever happened?" She responded... "No, but it might." You make these nonsense scenes up in your mind, then put them forth as fact, and expect others to actually believe you. It's hilarious except some of the more impressionable do believe you, and get people killed when they help create a gun free zone for the criminals to play in. Shooters look for easy targets. They are not going to go INTO the airport if people are armed. These are not tactical geniuses, and almost none have real world experience killing people... so you are only making sense if your shooter is a highly trained military shooter - and then, if he is, then even a five second armed response by a police officer ten feet away is not going to stop him. But people carrying openly, will.

There are over 10 million licensed carriers in the US, many more uncounted in states where no license is required. 44 states have airport carry, but the scenario you describe could feasibly happen almost anywhere. Tell me: 1) How is it dumb if 44 states have this practice with no issues and 2) How is it dangerous if nowhere in the US has it happened despite millions of carriers? The answer was already provided you. Overwhelmingly, the majority of gun fights are over in 3 seconds or less. But consider that among spree shootings, very few ended with the assailant getting shot by police or anyone else. In all but a handful of cases, upon sight of armed opposition the assailant either surrendered or took his own life. Sorry, but your Hollywood shootout scenario is fiction.

spoken by someone who is not a CCW and knows very little about guns or active shooter incidents. The average gun incident is over in 2 seconds. As far as gun free zones. Chicago is a gun free zone. They have the highest incident of gun violence in the world. They had 4,400 shootings last year and nearly 800 murders. How's that gun free zone working for ya?

I support Open Carry because it works. It will prevent crimes. I trust responsible people more than I trust a "Gun Free Zone." BTW, You never see a whack job shooting up a Gun Show.

We do NOT need open carry!!! That is the last thing we need in Florida. We need fewer guns and more common sense. More and more people freely carrying guns around only complicates the situation for everyone, especially law enforcement officers. How are they supposed to know who is not going to hurt them or others in a hostile situation when everyone has a gun? If we think that police officers are stressed out now and occasionally over reacting in situations - this will only make it worse. Please - we need brave, principled, political leaders that will stand up for us - the majority of people, law abiding, peace loving citizens that do not want to carry guns around and threaten people.

Catherine, we already have one in ten armed in our state. The only difference between open carry and concealed carry is 1/150th of an inch of fabric. So you are not trying to reduce the number of guns, but protect your perceived right to tell someone what they can say or do. Your anger is about you controlling others and bullying them into hiding the gun they already carry, and nothing more.

Fear monger much? "More and more people freely carrying guns around only complicates the situation for everyone, especially law enforcement officers. How are they supposed to know who is not going to hurt them or others in a hostile situation when everyone has a gun? If we think that police officers are stressed out now and occasionally over reacting in situations - this will only make it worse." How about we ask officers where open carry is legal? "We've not been responding to any calls, we've not had any complaints, we've not been taking reports. No, no issues here," said Maj. Shannon Clark with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department. "We have not seen anything alarming or attention-grabbing at all," said Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley. "I think it proves our point just a little bit that good, responsible people don't get in trouble with firearms and that thugs and hoodlums get into trouble with firearms every day," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton. “We do not have anything interesting to report,” Cpl. Tracey Knight, spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Police Department, said last week. “Two calls so far, no issues. We have no concerns and we have had no problems.” “I said before this became law that I thought it was going to be much ado about nothing but I didn’t know it was going to be this much nothing,” Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said. Well, well.

We do NOT need open carry!!! That is the last thing we need in Florida. We need fewer guns and more common sense. More and more people freely carrying guns around only complicates the situation for everyone, especially law enforcement officers. How are they supposed to know who is not going to hurt them or others in a hostile situation when everyone has a gun? If we think that police officers are stressed out now and occasionally over reacting in situations - this will only make it worse. Please - we need brave, principled, political leaders that will stand up for us - the majority of people, law abiding, peace loving citizens that do not want to carry guns around and threaten people.

Fool. But I do support "open carry", but only in the Florida Legislature.

So you fear seeing the gun?

No. But you might reflect on assault charges arising from open carry and resulting fear and intimidation of one who does.

Assault charges? You think this is California? ROFL. Read the statutes first, then study the case law, then get back to us.

Why do people make this crap up. The airport shooter was discharged from the military for "unsatisfactory performance". He was arrested previously for strangling his girlfriend. He had been previously Baker Acted for allegedly, "losing his mind". He was being investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security for ISIS issues, and receiving counseling for "mental health" issues. He could not have legally obtained a CCW if he had to. This is exactly why people like Seth and the media are not to be trusted, and why I applaud Mr. Steube for proposing changes that could have stopped this fool. CCW permit holders are law abiding citizens, even more so than the police, and those are the facts. How you like them apples...classic.

the shooter specifically targeted the Florida airport because it is a gun free zone, and one of only a few left in the USA. The LAW got these people killed.

Steube is a nutcase. He's what you get in a state with one-party rule ... nincompoops from way out on the fringe masquerading as "public servants". This country is way up a creek without a paddle ... as is this state.

Wow, and if you like, we might get to the actual issue after you finish your rant.

So your entire argument consists of insult and rhetoric? Nice to know you study so deeply the issues on which you publicly opine.

Seems to have worked for Trump.

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