While Florida’s sixty-day regular legislative session won’t begin until January 9 the honorable Senator from Florida’s 23rd District, Greg Steube (R), has again introduced an open carry bill (SB 148) and a number of other pro-Second Amendment measures. In a GOP-controlled state, prospects for the bills should be good. But already there’s trouble brewing in the parliamentary waters and Steube said that as Senate judiciary committee chairman, he doesn’t plan to bring the two pro-gun bills up for a hearing “at this time.”
Last week, the Senate judiciary committee postponed consideration SB 134 that would have allowed people with concealed weapons licenses to store firearms with security officers at courthouses. Sen. Steube submitted a similar bill last session that barely passed the Senate committee and later died on the House side when Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) shelved it and allowed time to run out.
The Senate judiciary committee is made up of the same members this year. Turncoat Senators Anitere Flores (R) and Rene Garcia are expected to once again side with Democrats, thus giving the gun-grabbing caucus control over the committee and strangling firearms freedom in the cradle.
“I have full intention to put them back up, and hopefully we’ll get to a point where we’ll do an up or down vote,” Sen. Steube said.
Steube’s words echoed what he said in the 2017 session when the pair of south Florida Republicans joined with Democrats effectively blocking any action on them. Those pro-gun bills never got far enough to get an up or down vote.
“Obviously we had challenges getting it through committee last [session], so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Sen. Steube said.
NRA lobbyist for Florida and former NRA President, Marion Hammer, was asked if pro-gun related measures are in trouble again in the 2018 session. She said she never makes predictions. In an email to the Orlando Sentinel, she wrote:
“There’s an old saying, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over.’ … And we haven’t even started.”
At the end of the last session Hammer stated the following in an email blast to NRA and USF members:
“In reality, none of those bills were defeated. No pro-gun bills were defeated by a vote of any committee or on either floor of the Legislature. Some just didn’t get heard in committees or on the Senate or House floor. In short they just didn’t make it all the way through the process.”
Sorry Marion, but the gun grabbers did win. They got two turncoat Republicans to side with anti-gun Democrats to kill pro-gun bills in committee. And like Groundhog Day, it appears that the same thing is happening all over once again.
The committee is expected to meet again on Tuesday, December 5, during the final week of committee meetings before theregular session.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as of October 31 more than 1.8 million conceal carry permits have been issued in the state. That makes just over 8.5% of population with the ability to carry, but who are restricted from further exercising their rights thanks to the blockage of these bills.
Once again, a state that is controlled by a GOP super majority can’t manage to pass pro-gun right reforms, even when the party campaigns and paints itself as pro-Second Amendment. Groundhog Day indeed.