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Senate Judiciary Committee to Hear Open Carry Bill

January 2, 2017 - 1:45pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill next week which would expand gun owners' rights and legalize open carry in Florida. 

The legislation, SB 140, is sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who introduced the measure last year when he was a state representative. 

If passed, the bill would allow Florida's 1.7 million concealed carry 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. 

The bill would not allow CCW permit holders to carry their firearms on college or athletic events and restrictions would still exist on carrying guns to restaurants and bars.  Any permit holder in violation of the restrictions in the bill would face a misdemeanor charge. 

The Judiciary Committee is the first stop for the bill, and the odds are in its favor this year since Steube chairs that committee. 

Last year, the odds weren't stacked in the bill's favor. Last year, former state Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced the bill in the House, where it sailed through that chamber, but faced opposition in the Senate. 

Former Sen. Miguel Díaz de la Portilla was at the center of the failure of many pro-gun bills last year, since he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee where many of Second Amendment bills, including open carry, breathed their last breaths. 

Pro-gun groups have asked their members to write to state lawmakers to make the case for passing the bill. 

Florida Carry sent out an email to its members over the weekend, advising them to contact legislators over SB 140 and warning them of legal repercussions on gun owners should the bill not pass. 

"The right to choose the appropriate method of carry was taken from you," Florida Carry wrote. "This has resulted in the arrest of scores of law-abiding licensees, whose only crime was their handgun became visible."

Last year, the bill gathered mixed reactions from a variety of groups. 

The bill showed an evident division among law enforcement officers in Florida, with Florida Police Chiefs Association supporting the measure last year, while the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) overwhelmingly opposed the legislation.  

The National Rifle Association also went to bat for the law last year. 

The bill will be heard Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. 


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



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Open carry- will this include the Capitol, legislative cmte rooms, Chambers, Cabinet mtgs.?? All lives matter Marion.

Right on. Why should anybody care if I want to shoulder my AK and carry my holstered Tek-9. It's simple personal protection.

Your overtly snarky comment tells me you haven't actually read the bill, because you'd know you can only carry a handgun, and furthermore you have to have a valid permit to carry anyway.

Does anyone have the complete list of all the state legislators email accounts? We need to remind them "don't let what happened to Hillary happen to you next Election Day in Florida!" Also remind them there are nearly 2,000,000 of us in the state with CCW permits! And by the way we have families let's make that number 6 million voters - republican and dems alike! Let' F'in fight for our rights. EMAIL THEM ALL APPROVE OPEN CARRY FL

I hope Florida drops ALL of its law that violate the Bill of Rights. That includes requiring payment and license to bear arms.

I hope this becomes law.The State of Georgia slows licensed CCW holders to carry. Their Hand guns into. a bar without being arrested in fact the applies for Places of Worship..Unless a posted.Prohibiting Guns in the house of Worship and the same applies to bars... In.addition. In fact an officer is named from inquiring unless a crime using a gun.for Intent to rob, Or shoot someone to.intentionally Hurt or kill another person unless they are defending themselves. So Lets get law in order reestablished in Florida because the The Department of Law enforcement is doing a poor job

Does the gibberish you wrote even make sense to you?

Most states allow open carry without any permit. So should Florida. Learn more at And carry on!

I feel "open carry", as is generally recognized by the population, sets up too many CWC owners for surprise muggings in order to steal the weapon. What we DO NEED is, no criminal charges for inadvertent "printing", where the outline or even butt is detectable through a shirt or pants pocket

Printing in Florida is not illegal. The ccw says only "brief" display is legal. The problem is nobody can define the word brief.

That law already exists, but is not being honored in certain jurisdictions. It's unfortunate that police officers continue to abuse their discretion, but it does happen and the only way to put a stop to it is to remove that discretion. Authority: abuse it and lose it.

You're nuts! Why would a criminal even approach you? Use your head. At any rate, most of us will never open carry anyway. It's just a protection in the inadvertent display of your firearm.

So the bad guys will steal your gun if they see it but the won't steal it if all they see is the butt or outline of your gun?

Tom, the rumor open carriers are being targeted is largely a myth, and has occurred fewer than a dozen times nationwide over the last 20 years.

"What we DO NEED is, no criminal charges for inadvertent "printing", where the outline or even butt is detectable through a shirt or pants pocket "....... That is already the law, but too many anti-2nd.Amendment Sheriffs /Deputies were harassing many CCW permit holders for accidental anyway. There was no penalty for them doing that and it cost plenty of gun owners a lot of money in Lawyers fees..... Open Carry is the Legislatures response to the Sheriffs....

There is a very good likelihood that this will Pass this year.... Open Carry, Campus Carry. Law Abiding Adults in Florida have these rights.

Attempt to intimidate by parading your gun, get sued for assault. We'll see.

Wrong. One cannot be sued for assault for having a holstered weapon. If you are an attorney you must be starving and broke.

Actually I am, but retired - and not broke. You can't afford me.

Actually I am, but retired - and not broke. You can't afford me.

Robert, how exactly does one "parade" a holstered handgun?

That question is what a court will answer - takes your chances.

I believe the Bar Association has already said quite a few things (like "You're disbarred") to lawyers who file lawsuits as harassment against law-abiding citizens.

The FL courts have already addressed armed intimidation. You seem to think this is new, or unique to open carry. Remember, there was no state law against open carry prior to 1987.

That's already against the law....

William . I can see what your saying... Raymond `s article is surprising, last week I bought a top of the range Acura from making $4608 this-past/month and-a little over, $10,000 this past month . with-out any question its the easiest work I've ever had . I began this five months/ago and almost straight away startad bringin in minimum $82 per-hr +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+


Key statement to this article; CCW Permit Holders, "whose only crime was their handgun became visible". This should NEVER result in a prosecutable charge. (Shirt riding up; pants cuff riding up; bending over to pick something up; etc., etc.). IF this is to be the preferred course of action,.. we are in for "Chicago type" concealed weapon carry "across-the-board" illegally. Common sense ownership (and intent to use) should preclude "the sky is falling alarmists" who shrink in the face of every shadow from initiating, or causing, criminal charges against CCW Permit holders AS WELL AS infringing upon their inalienable"Second Amendment" RIGHTS . And Law Enforcement should exercise some common-sense relative to these obviously alarmist claims .

Your comment about alarmists is on point. As a police officer, I was called down in a closed meeting, by a lieutenant, because my weapon was briefly exposed while bending to sit in a folding chair. There were only other officers in attendance. I told him that when I left, I would try to get up w/o bending.

Wish I'd read your comment first. I agree I anticipated a bunch of know it all preachers looking down their noses to be all over this article.


Comments are now closed.


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