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** Report on ROUND 30 ** Restore Rights to Concealed Weapons License Holders in Florida

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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


DATE:       May 4, 2011
TO:            USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM:      Marion P. Hammer
                  USF Executive Director 
                  NRA Past President

Senate Bill 234, introduced by state Senator Greg Evers (R-2) and House Bill 517, introduced by state Representative Chris Dorworth (R-34) were heard in the full House yesterday on Second Reading. SB 234 was substituted for HB 517 and Representative Dorworth handled the bill on the House floor. Today, SB 234 came up for debate and final passage AND PASSED in the House by a 99 to 17 vote. 

This bill now goes to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.

More details will be provided later....All three of the NRA/USF bills have now passed and await the Governor's signature.

ENORMOUS THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND E-MAIL

SB 234 makes two changes to the “Right-to-Carry” law -- also known as the Concealed Weapons Licensing law and it would also conform Florida’s firearms purchase law with federal law.

 

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

1. Provides protection for concealed weapons license holders 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 their 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.

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 or she can be charged with a crime.   If a person wants to take a coat or jacket off before getting into a car or getting out of a car before putting on a jacket or coat -- and the gun is exposed -- the possibility of being charged with a crime exists. This bill fixes that problem.

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 will remember the distraught father, who had already buried his son (who had been killed in an automobile 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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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.