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Florida Senator Steube to Hold Hearing on Open Carry Decriminalization

Saturday, March 25, 2017 7:49
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(Before It's News)

Gun owners expected positive things when Greg Steube was elected to the state senate last year. Senator Steube introduced a number of gun law reform measures.  The measures have received large majority support in the House, but were stymied in the Senate. They were bottled up in the Judiciary Committee. The former Chair of that committee lost his primary last year.

Senator Steube is now the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. In a weird twist, Senator Anitere Flores (R) Miami, who has been a staunch Second Amendment supporter, reversed positions and is not the blocking the reform measures from passing the Committee. The Committee has 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. One swing vote determines if a measure will pass, if Committee members vote on party lines.

Senator Steube hopes that he will be able to pass some reforms. From

Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who has been among the leading proponents of Second Amendment rights since joining the Legislature in 2010, said he will eventually take up a major gun bill in his committee.

That could be a proposal (SB 644) that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms; a proposal (SB 622) that would allow them to carry weapons on college or university campuses; or an even more wide-ranging measure by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.

SB-646 is scheduled to be heard in the Judiciary Committee on March 28th. The bill does not legalize open carry, but it removes criminal penalties and provides for the payment of a civil fine of $25 instead.  It allows for temporary open display of a firearm by people who are carrying concealed weapons. From the bill(pdf):

A bill to be entitled An act relating to weapons and firearms; amending s.790.053, F.S.; deleting a statement of applicability relating to violations of carrying a concealed weapon or firearm; reducing the penalty for a violation of specified provisions relating to openly carrying weapons; making a fine payable to the clerk of the court; amending s. 790.06, F.S.; providing that a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon or firearm who is lawfully carrying a firearm does not violate certain provisions if the firearm is temporarily and openly displayed; 

It is unclear how Senator Flores will vote on this mild reform. The NRA is urging members to contact their State Senator to vote in favor of SB-646.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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