Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, introduced a controversial measure Friday that would allow the more than 1.67 million Floridians with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry handguns.
Steube's bill (SB 140), which is filed for the 2017 legislative session, also would expand the places where people with concealed-weapons licenses are allowed to carry guns. It would allow them to be armed at legislative meetings; local government meetings; elementary and secondary schools; airport passenger terminals; and college and university campuses.
License holders would still be prohibited from carrying weapons at locations such as police stations, jails, courtrooms, polling places and most bars.
During the 2016 session, the open-carry measure was approved 80-38 in the House but failed to advance through the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was chaired by former Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami. Diaz de la Portilla lost a re-election bid in November.
A bill that would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on university and college campuses also died in the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 2016 session. Last week, Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, reintroduced a House version of the campus-carry measure (HB 6005) for the 2017 session. Also, Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, has proposed a bill (HB 6001) that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to bring guns into the passenger terminals of airports.
Photo credit: Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times