Open-Carry Bill Is Officially Dead in Florida

Open-Carry Bill Is Officially Dead in Florida
Photo by Lucio Eastman via WikiCommons, CC3.0

Usually when the NRA and other gun groups say jump, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature says, "How high and how many guns should we carry when we do it?" But a few gun fantasies are just a bridge too far for even some Floridians. 

Yesterday, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, announced that bills to allow "open carry" and another that would allow guns in Florida airports are dead. 

As chair, Diaz de la Portilla basically has the power to kill any bill that comes through the committee by refusing to bring it up for a hearing. Bills in the Florida Legislature must pass three committees before making their way to a vote before the full House and Senate. The open-carry bill had already passed in the full House earlier this month. 

Open-carry laws allow gun owners to basically walk around with guns on themselves and totally visible to the public. In some states, that right has led to bizarre sights, such as people toting around large, high-powered machine guns inside Target and Starbucks locations. 

Florida's proposed law would have allowed those who already have a concealed-carry license to openly carry their guns. Since Florida's concealed-carry license laws apply to only handguns, open carry would still not have applied to larger guns. 

"Open carry is not going to happen; it's done," Diaz de la Portilla told reporters yesterday, according to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Diaz de la Portilla also killed a bill that would have allowed guns in airport terminals. Earlier this session, he dealt the same fate to a bill that would have allowed people to take their concealed weapons onto college campuses. 

Gun-rights Republicans have tried several times in previous sessions to pass similar bills, but the efforts have almost always been killed in the Senate by more moderate Republicans. 

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