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Latvala, sheriffs help take out Brandes' NRA-backed gun bill

It’s not often that a bill backed by the National Rifle Association dies in the Florida Legislature, which is dominated by proud gun-owning conservative Republicans and Democrats.

But that’s what happened Thursday thanks to the combination of the lobbying force of the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the legislative acumen of Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who for the second straight day helped kill a controversial bill.

SB 296 would have allowed those in lawful possession of guns to conceal weapons without a permit during mandatory evacuations and local emergencies, such as riots. That's not the same as a gun owner, and could apply to adult children or spouses of gun owners with clean criminal records who are found carrying guns.

The bill, which passed the House last month 80-36, was “insane”, said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who worked with Latvala to add an amendment to the bill that would have limited the exemption for concealed weapons permits to 24 hours. It also would remove the exemption once the carrier of the weapon reached their destination upon evacuation.

“It just provides a reasonable limit,” said Latvala, who delayed the bill from getting discussed on Wednesday. 

It passed 23-15, with the support of Tampa Bay senators Latvala, and John Legg of Trinity, another Republican, and Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton and the sponsor of the bill, Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, voted against the amendment.

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, is a former sheriff of Citrus County who normally backs NRA measures. Not this time. He said it went too far, and would made it hard for law enforcement to pick out "the average joe" who might be packing hear during evacuations.

After the amendment was added, Brandes pulled his bill. Afterward, he said he wasn’t going to bring it back this session.

“(The amendment) makes it a felony if you’re a minute late after the evacuation,” Brandes said. “It makes the bill anti-2nd Amendment. It defeats the whole purpose.”

Brandes said he'll try to bring it back next year.

Gualtieri said he was surprised that Brandes felt that way. He said he worked with Latvala to make sure the amendment brought clarity to the proposed law so that law enforcement knew how to enforce it. Without the specifics the amendment provided, the bill was too vague, he said.

“It put understandable terms to the bill,” he said. “I really don’t get why he feels that way. Why would he want the law to be ambiguous?”

Drawing attention to the bill’s survivalist, every-man-for-himself ethos, Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, filed an amendment that would include, among the emergencies where permits weren’t need to carry guns, a zombie apocalypse. It wasn’t heard on the Senate floor, however, because Brandes pulled his bill before it was heard.

“Of course he was,” Brandes said when asked if Bullard was poking fun at the bill.

Gualtieri said he’s reading for the NRA backlash. He said members had been sending strongly-worded emails to lawmakers in the past few days urging the passage of the bill.

“There was a lot of pushing on this,” he said. “If they’re going to come after me now, so be it. Get in line, I guess.”

 

Comments

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Hmmmm....

Thank you Senator Latvala!

FLMom

Thank you to ALL who voted this ridiculous bill down. Sanity, at last.

tom reynolds

It is very hard for me to understand how most of these Sheriffs have an R next to their name . Good old Senator LaCorupion at the wheel , another Rino .

Tom

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Senator Latvala and the others that supported amending a good piece of legislation don't understand liberty. I hope this costs them politically.

Ignacio

It is very interesting that the Senators from Miami-Dade County have forgotten how lawless the whole area was after Hurricane Andrews. It was the gun owners who were able to stabilize the area until the Army finally came in after almost a week. People without guns were just plain defenseless and got hurt because of it.

How soon we forget!!!!

Slavko Miladinovic

I posted this in the Miami Herald article comment section, so I might as well post it here, too:

Concealed weapons permit is void during a state of emergency in public. Here's the Florida law that states it very clearly, in paragraph 3:

The 2013 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI

CRIMES

Chapter 870

AFFRAYS; RIOTS; ROUTS; UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLIES

870.044 Automatic emergency measures.—Whenever the public official declares that a state of emergency exists, pursuant to s. 870.043, the following acts shall be prohibited during the period of said emergency throughout the jurisdiction:

(1) The sale of, or offer to sell, with or without consideration, any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.

(2) The intentional display, after the emergency is declared, by or in any store or shop of any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.

(3) The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty.

(source Flroida law: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0870/Sections/0870.044.html)


You should become a member of the NRA; thereby, you would have known about that law. Perhaps the Miami Herald should become a member, so as to inform the people how defensively naked they will be during a state of emergency, if they obey Florida's unconstitutional gun laws.

ERIK ASHER

The gun owners in the districts that these oath breaking legislators and Sheriffs serve should vote them out. Make them pay dearly for standing against the rights of the people to protect themselves in times of emergency. I don't care what party these idiots say they belong to, If they voted to kill this bill, they need to be out of office. What Florida needs is unrestricted open carry to comply with the 2nd. amendment. Let them eat that.

GL

So I don't understand this part of the Florida Statute

870.044 Automatic emergency measures.—Whenever the public official declares that a state of emergency exists, pursuant to s. 870.043, the following acts shall be prohibited during the period of said emergency throughout the jurisdiction:
(1) The sale of, or offer to sell, with or without consideration, any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.

(2) The intentional display, after the emergency is declared, by or in any store or shop of any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.

(3) The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty.

*****Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.

So they are trying to say this is not going to be a snatch and grab but doesn't the possession of a firearm, (concealed with a permit), mean you are in violation of #3 and automatically make it a criminal act as part of this statute??

Meaning without the bill that just failed we have no 2nd Amendment rights during a declared SOE.

DoAsISayNotAsIDo

@Erik Asher......Agreed. We need to vote out the oath breaking legislators. The FSA only cares about their own safety. During Hurricane Katrina there was actual footage on television of a police officer looting along the side of looters. And those of you who supported this; I hope you realize that when you call the police for help and seconds count they only show up on time in the movies. What a sad day for FL. I will not longer be supporting the FSA and will be watching elections very carefully here in FL.

David Bengtson

I would like to know which Sheriffs were against this bill.

Sabatino Nuzzi III

I don't believe this is even worthy of a comment. all I will say is goodbye to the Communists who sided with the idiots at the Sheriffs association, after next election I would learn the phrase "Would you like fries with that". Your all Gone. This is not only our right as Americans but we are Southerners and we do not take this lightly. Should there be a national disaster here in Florida I hope you have plenty of room fin your jails for honest law abiding citizens as none will give up there firearm when they need it most!! You idiots going to protect us from the criminals who own guns and more over own them illegally and they won't be leaving them home. EVER!! well guess I did comment. Could not hold back when Idiots start affecting the rules and putting us in unnecessary danger! What the hell are you people thinking???????

Paul Roberts

The 2013 Florida Statutes
The conditions for declaring an Emergency are very clear in 870.043 and an evacuation does not meet the conditions.

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 870
AFFRAYS; RIOTS; ROUTS; UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLIES

View Entire Chapter
870.043 Declaration of emergency.—Whenever the sheriff or designated city official determines that there has been an act of violence or a flagrant and substantial defiance of, or resistance to, a lawful exercise of public authority and that, on account thereof, there is reason to believe that there exists a clear and present danger of a riot or other general public disorder, widespread disobedience of the law, and substantial injury to persons or to property, all of which constitute an imminent threat to public peace or order and to the general welfare of the jurisdiction affected or a part or parts thereof, he or she may declare that a state of emergency exists within that jurisdiction or any part or parts thereof.
History.—s. 3, ch. 70-990; s. 1400, ch. 97-102

ProudFL22

I'm proud to call Jeff Brandes my state senator.

ken snow

SB-296/HB-209. I just can't understand why this did not pass. My wife and I like to think of ourselves as law abiding citizens but law or no law if we have to evacuate, you can bet we are taking all of our guns with us, not only because of the large investment but also to defend ourselves and our property. I was a deputy Sheriff and a State Trooper so I cannot believe how politically left the Sheriffs association is on this, it seems from all I have read they are thinking of their selves instead of what the citizens would be going through.
Ken Snow

Bill Anderson

Good for you Ken Snow,May 6,14.6:00pm.A man that knows what it's like out there in such times.Crazy to be without all the money it cost for you to own your gun's,but not take them with you in a state of emergency.We need to vote for people that have a brain,and think for his/her Voter's....PLZ,NRA come back and help us next year with new Sheriffs,Senators.

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