Florida has been flirting with licensed open carry for several legislative sessions. Some of the flirting has become rather provocative, to the point of teasing. Last legislative session, open carry passed the house with large margins, but was blocked in the Senate by Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a “moderate” Republican committee chair from Miami.
Portilla then lost his seat in the November election. Some have suggested the Republican leadership was using Portilla to accomplish what they wanted — blocking open carry without saying so publicly. From a comment by Bob at The Truth About Guns:
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla was a Republican for those that don’t know. Also the Senate President is not a fan of open carry and just appointed a Democrat to Chair the Criminal Justice Committee. SB 140 can go through their and not Stuebe’s committee and it can be killed there.
Open and campus carry have a much better chance in the Florida legislature this year. The Senate president has routed the bill around the Criminal Justice Committee. From tampabay.com:
Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has sent SB 140 — by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube — to be heard before three committees, all chaired by conservative Republicans who passionately support gun-owners’ rights. They are: Steube’s Judiciary Committee; Government Oversight & Accountability, chaired by Dennis Baxley of Ocala; and Rules, chaired by Lizbeth Benacquisto of Fort Myers.
Committee assignments are a routine step that is typically not significant but, in this case, is quite revealing of Senate leadership’s support for Steube’s wide-ranging measure.
Notably: The bill will not be reviewed by the Criminal Justice Committee, a common stop for past gun-related legislation. That committee is now chaired by an Orlando Democrat, Randolph Bracy.
A lot can happen to bills in the legislative sausage-making process. There are plenty of steps in the process at which they can be stopped. But for now, SB 140 looks to have a good chance.
Elections have consequences.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.