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**Report on Round 19 ** Restore Rights to Concealed Weapons License Holders in Florida

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Includes Concealed Weapons License Open-Carry, Campus-Carry, Guns-In-Vehicles and Purchase of Long Guns in other states

 

DATE:      April 13, 2011
TO:          USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM:     Marion P. Hammer
                USF Executive Director 
                NRA Past President

Senate Bill 234, introduced by Senator Greg Evers (R-2), was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on yesterday and the 4 to 3 vote to PASS the bill did not come until almost 6:00 p.m.  It was a heavy agenda with 31 bills to be heard, but Committee Chairman Anitere Flores made sure the bill was heard and voted on before time expired on the meeting.  We owe her a special thanks.  flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov,

State Senator Ellyn Bodganoff (R-25) filed an unfriendly amendment to the bill that would have gutted the provisions relating to open carry  protection.  Her amendment actually would have made it easier for law enforcement to arrest citizens with concealed weapons licenses who are legally carrying and whose firearms become accidentally or unintentionally exposed.  Every time a license holder leaves home he or she runs the risk of being arrested and charged with violating the “open carry” or “improper exhibition” law, if the firearm becomes exposed.

Senator Bogdanoff ultimately withdrew her amendment and then voted AGAINST the bill.

REPUBLICANS VOTING FOR THE BILL: 

flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov,
richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov,
simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov,
thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov

REPUBLICANS VOTING AGAINST THE BILL: 

bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov

DEMOCRATS VOTING AGAINST THE BILL:

braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov,
joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov,

 

The bill now basically does the three (3) following things:

1. Provides that concealed weapons license holders may also carry openly - to prevent license holders from being charged with the crime of violating the "Open Carry" law because a concealed firearm accidentally or inadvertently became visible.

2. Provides that concealed weapons license holders may store a firearm in private vehicle anywhere the vehicle is lawfully parked except those places that are exempted under s. 790.251(7) -- the parking lot law.

3. Removes the obsolete firearms purchase in contiguous state law previously required by federal law for out of state purchases of long guns and replaces it with language to conform to current federal requirements that allows purchase of long guns in other states.

To read an article in the Miami Herald that fairly describes the events surrounding the reason the Senate Criminal Justice Committee stripped out the campus carry language click here.


Background


OPEN CARRY:
# 1.  The open carry provision addresses the problem of an accidental or unintentional exposure of a firearm being carried by a concealed weapons license holder. As silly as it may sound, if a license holder is carrying a concealed firearm and the wind blows a jacket or shirt open exposing the firearm, the person can be charged with a crime for violating the open carry law.  Anytime a license holder accidentally or unintentionally exposes the firearm whether reaching for something on a top shelf or bending over to pick up something, he/she can be charged with a crime. This bill fixes that problem.

The cries of anti-gunners with predictions of horrible things resulting from "open carry" are pure nonsense. Adding the provision of open carry for concealed weapons license holders will NOT present problems. While some gun haters may not want to remove this needless restriction, there have been no problems in other states.

According to the anti-gun Brady Campaign, 46 states allow open carry. Of those, 34 states allow open carry without a permit or license while 12 states require a permit to carry openly. (FLORIDA TODAY 1/7/2011, Change Would Relax Handgun Law - Byline: Kaustuv Basu)

What the spokesperson (Brian Malte, State Legislative Director) for the Brady Campaign -- the national gun ban group -- said is that open carry COULD BE TROUBLESOME. He said "Open carrying of loaded guns is problematic for public safety and for law enforcement. It is frightening to see people carrying loaded weapons in urban and suburban environments."

What the Brady Campaign fails to report is that open carry is not now, nor has it ever been a problem. Only four states, including Florida, prohibit open carry. It's time to remove this unnecessary government restriction in Florida.

Adding "open carry" for concealed weapons license holders to the law to avoid the "open carry" glitch doesn't mean they will carry openly.

FIREARMS CARRY IN A VEHICLE:
#2. 
This bill simply says that if a person has a concealed weapons license, nothing shall prohibit the carry or storage of a firearm in a vehicle -- except the exemptions in the Florida parking lot law.

For example, many of you will remember the case last summer of a cemetery that arbitrarily banned guns on cemetery property.

And you'll remember the distraught father, who had already buried his son (who had been killed in auto crash) in that cemetery. The father has a concealed weapons license and always carries a firearm in his truck and frequently visits his son's grave.

Advised of the new gun ban by the cemetery, the father was given three choices: (1) stop carrying a firearm in his vehicle, (2) face arrest for trespassing with a firearm (a felony) or (3) move his son's body to another cemetery (which might later ban guns as well).  Those choices are outrageous. This bill fixes that outrageous denial of Second Amendment rights.

REPEAL OF CONTIGUOUS STATE LANGUAGE:
#3.
  This bill repeals the obsolete language in s. 790.28, which limits purchase of rifles and shotguns to contiguous states and replaces it with language that will make it possible for Florida residents to purchase rifles and shotguns in non-contiguous states.

 

In 1979, s. 790.28 was passed to conform to federal law. At the time, federal law required the contiguous state language to be passed in order for residents to be able to exercise their right to purchase long guns in adjoining states.

Federal law has since changed to allow the purchase of long guns in any state through a licensed federal firearms dealer. However, in order for Florida residents to be able to exercise those rights, s. 790.28 must be repealed and conforming language must be added to Florida’s statutes.  This bill does that.
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