A measure that would allow Florida’s 1.7 million concealed-weapons permit-holders to take their guns into courthouses and temporarily store them at security checkpoints advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Senators passed SB 616 by a 5-4 vote, after Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, the bill sponsor and chairman of the committee, pledged not to expand the bill as it continues through the legislative process.
The proposal does not go so far as to let conceal-carry permit-holders be armed within a courthouse. It would just give them the ability to continue carrying while they’re coming and going from the building, so that they don’t have to leave their guns in their vehicles.
Steube, himself an attorney, said the bill would particularly help attorneys defend themselves, as needed, while entering and leaving courthouses.
“I can’t tell you how many lawyers in my district who have told me they’ve had their lives threatened,” Steube said. For those who carry concealed, “they can’t carry from the car to the courthouse, because they can’t carry in the courthouse.”
Photo credit: Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau