A primary obstacle to Florida open carry has been removed. The legislator who blocked open carry in Florida (as well as campus carry) was Senator Diaz de la Portilla (R) of Miami Dade. The senator refused to let an open carry bill out of committee in 2015. Then he repeated the performance in 2016. The bill had passed the Florida House by an overwhelming margin, and had a large majority support in the Senate. From sun-sentinal.com:
And yet he singlehandedly has killed in the Legislature this year bills that would allow concealed carry permit holders to openly carry firearms, to carry them on college campuses, and to carry them in airport terminals.
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Diaz de la Portilla decides what bills get a hearing there. All the gun bills were assigned to his committee, and he refused to hear them all, effectively killing them.
As a result, many Second Amendment supporters vowed to work against Portilla’s reelection. Last week he lost by 6,000 votes out of 179,000 cast.
More good news: Senator Dwight Bullard, chairman of the Miami-Dade Democrat party, lost his seat to a Republican, allowing Republicans to maintain their advantage in the Senate. The numbers are the same as last term, 25 Republicans to 15 Democrats.
Florida Carry analyzed Portilla’s blockage of the pro-rights bills. In their estimation, the Senate leadership orchestrated the defeat of the bills to give themselves political cover.
Through his resistance to calendar SB 176, Sen. Diaz de la Portilla is ignoring the success of the House companion bill for his own personal reasons, and denying the bill its deserved consideration by the remaining Senate committees. This is an intentional attempt at running out the clock, so fellow Senators are not put in the position of having to vote yea or nay on the right to bear arms on campus.
In this way, they can claim support for self defense by honestly saying they’ve never voted against a pro-gun bill.
With Senator Portilla gone, Frank Artiles is added as a new senator. While he won’t be the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, he’s expected to be another pro-gun vote. As a member of the Florida House, Artiles voted for the open carry bill, HB 4001, last year.
Only five states generally forbid the open carry of holstered handguns. It appears that Florida will be the next domino to fall. That would leave only New York, Illinois, California, and South Carolina. The restoration of Second Amendment rights, increment by increment, continues apace.
When President Trump nominates Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution as written, we’re likely to see cases that strike down more infringements on the exercise of the Second Amendment. Those cases may take years to work their way through the system, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch