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Open carry gun law easily clears House panel

On one side in the Florida House were sheriffs, state attorneys, large retailers like Publix and Associated Industries of Florida. On the other side: Marion Hammer, long-time lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. Guess who won?

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday easily approved the so-called "open carry" bill for concealed weapons permit holders. The vote was 14-4 with Democrats John Julien of Miami and Darren Soto of Orlando joining all Republicans in voting for the bill (HB 517), which is sponsored by Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary. He says the bill is needed to prevent lawful permit holders from inadvertently violating Florida law.

Lt. Rick Hernandez of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office raised the specter of gun-carrying, partying, drinking patrons at the annual Gasparilla festival, which draws 400,000 people. "Lots of drinking, lots of problems," Hernandez told lawmakers. "Now we're going to have citizens out there that are probably going to have guns."

Hammer said the open carry provision is needed for the sake of the 800,000 people who carry concealed weapons for self-protection.

"Every time they leave the house with a concealed weapon, they run the risk of it being accidentally or unintentionally or inadvertently exposed, and being observed by a law enforcement officer who's having a bad day," Hammer said.

Pinellas Sheriff Jim Coats also urged defeat of the bill, as did Randy Miller of the Florida Retail Federation and Arthur "Buddy" Jacobs of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association. Supporters noted that 43 states already have an open carry law, but Hernandez countered that three of the four most populous states (Florida, New York and Texas) do not.   

-- Steve Bousquet

Comments

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marinesecurityforce

Concealed weapons carriers have strict regulations on where they can carry their firearms so people that dont like this bill dont have to worry about people being at a bar` w/a gun or out partying w/their guns openly. These people w/these permits are very responsible and wont risk losing their permits to carry by doing something stupid.

John Owen


"Lots of drinking, lots of problems," Hernandez told lawmakers. "Now we're going to have citizens out there that are probably going to have guns."

Guess what Hernandez, the guns are there anyway. The only difference is, the ones with guns at Gasparilla are either cops or people that don't give a $hit what the gun laws are.

I agree with marinesecurityforce in that these are decent law-abiding citizens who wouldn't sully their good name by bringing a gun into a bar or doing someting equally stupid with a firearm. Every time Republicans attempt to loosen gun laws the Democrats scream "BLOOD WILL FLOOD" and suddenly turn into apocalyptic drama queens. They cried the same sad song when concealed weapons permits were first issued to Florida residents.
I don't know about you but I'd rather not have to tie my shoe and then get arrested for "printing" my concealed weapon through my shirt. I'd also carry my concealed firearm alot more often if I didn't have to worry about it being perfectly concealed.

michael cochran

i think this is the best thing ever

JIM EDWARDS

IT'S THE SAME OLD AND WORE OUT STORY.THE POLICE WANT TO BE THE ONLY GODS WITH WEAPONS AND THE LAW MAKERS WANT TO KISS THE ASS'S OF THE POLICE.NOW DAYS VERY FEW TRUE PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE WORKING FOR US.BUT MANY WANT US TO BE THEIR SERVANTS AND FEAR THEM.THEY DO IT WITH THEIR OPEN DISPLAY OF THEIR WEAPONS.BELIEVE IT OR NOT PUBLIC SERVANTS,WE GUN TOTEING,LICENSED AMERICANS ARE RESPONSIBLE.TIME TO GIVE US A BREAK AND YOU STOP TRYING TO BE OUR MAMA'S AND DADDY'S...WE ARE JUST FINE THANK YOU

Marissa

Their could can widen ten she any. As so we smart those money in. Am wrote up whole so tears sense oh.

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