On Tuesday the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for three gun bills including church carry and the decriminalization of accidental exposure of a concealed handgun (see details below). They needed the committee’s OK in order to get a vote of the full senate during the 2018 session.
As predicted last month, however, the result was a Groundhog Day-like repeat of last year’s disaster. Senators Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Anitere Flores (R-Miami) sided with Democrats in killing all three pieces of legislation. Republican Senators Debbie Mayfield, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Rob Bradley, and Greg Steube voted in favor of the bills.
Sen. Rene Garcia took charge this go around as the lead anti-gun Republican stating:
“It’s not about the policy, but the process, and about what I think we as a Senate should be standing up for and holding our position,” Garcia said.
Sen. Anitere Flores, on the other hand, generally stayed quiet, bringing up the rear simply through her votes. Regarding the decriminalization bill, she later stated to CBS 4 News of Miami:
“Right now, the way that bill reads is, it allows temporary and openly displaying, that would allow brandishing, and that is a concern of mine,” Flores said.
Michael Bloomberg’s astroturfed Moms Demand Action was there in full force spouting all of the usual gun-grabbing talking points.
Once again, Floridians lost any chance of expanding their Second Amendment rights. This came as the final insult in a year that saw the US Supreme Court refuse to hear Norman v Florida effectively ending any judicial route to getting open carry in the Sunshine State.
I had the pleasure of working with Paul Henry of Liberty First Network last session and he is a Patriot and a Proud Floridian. A retired 25 year veteran trooper from the Florida High Patrol, he has fought tirelessly for Floridians and not just on Second Amendment issues. During his testimony, Henry brought up the fact that of all the gun crimes that have been committed in Florida’s crime capital of Tallahassee, none of them were committed by individuals with conceal weapon permits. The majority of the criminals responsible were repeat offenders and that restricting the rights of the law abiding only hurts the law abiding.
Eric Friday of Florida Carry stood up to recognize Sen. Steube as Florida’s most pro-Second Amendment Senator and thanked him for his hard work. Stuebe has been fighting the good fight — including against members of his own party – year after year in an effort to make Florida’s gun laws less restrictive.
Here is a breakdown of the three bills that were shot down by the civilian disarmament caucus:
SB-274 would have eliminated the unconstitutional restrictions that prevent churches, synagogues and other religious institutions from allowing private security or concealed firearms permits holders to carry firearms on church property if church property is ever used for day care or any type of schooling.
It was killed by a vote of 4-6.
SB-134 would have allowed persons with permits to carry concealed firearms to “check” their firearms at the security entrance of the courthouse and retrieve it upon leaving the courthouse. Further, it would have defined what a “courthouse” is to prevent anti-gun judges from attempting to create extensive gun-free-zones around courthouses.
It was killed by a vote of 4-6.
SB-148 was a bill to stop abuse of law-abiding citizens who are permitted to carry concealed firearms for self-defense. A permit holder whose firearm becomes temporarily and openly displayed to the ordinary sight of another person is not a criminal act this bill would have stopped it being a crime.
It was killed on 5-5 a tie vote created by Sen. Anitere Flores.