|DATE:||April 6, 2017|
|TO:||USF & NRA Member and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|NRA Past President|
On Tuesday 4/4/2017:
Five bills of great importance to Second Amendment supporters and gun owners were on the Special Order Calendar on the House floor for the purpose of answering questions and offering amendments. All five bills went through the process with no adverse amendments and were placed on the Calendar for a final vote for passage on Wednesday 4/5/2017. All five subsequently passed the House on Wednesday.
HB-849 Concealed Firearms on Church Property by Rep. Neil Combee -- Restores private property rights to churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions so they may allow firearms on church property if they choose. The state has wrongfully included church property in the definition of "school property" if a church has a day care or preschool program or any type of school on church property. This bill fixes that. HB-849 PASSED the House 76-35 and now goes to the Senate.
HB-779 Protection for Concealed Firearms License Holders by Rep. Neil Combee This bill decriminalizes the temporary exposure of a firearm by concealed firearms license holders and protects them from being arrested and charged with a crime for the temporary and open exposure of a firearm. HB-779 PASSED the House 80-34 and now goes to the Senate
HB-245 Burden of Proof by Rep. Bobby Payne & Rep. Jason Fischer was laid on the table and SB-128 Burden of Proof by Sen. Rob Bradley was substituted for HB-245.
SB-128 Burden of Proof by Sen. Rob Bradley (and Rep. Bobby Payne) Restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases by putting the burden of proof BACK ON THE STATE where it belongs. The bill was amended by the House to lower the stand of evidence in the immunity hearing from "beyond all reasonable doubt" to "clear and convincing." SB-128 then PASSED the House 74-39 and was sent back to the Senate.
HB-965 Sales Tax on CW Fingerprint Service by Rep. Byron Donaldson
Prohibits the Florida Department of Revenue from imposing sales tax or use tax on the fingerprint services required for concealed weapons & firearms license applicants. HB-965 PASSED the House 106-8 and now goes to the Senate.
HB-467 CW License Fees/Dept. of Agriculture by Rep. Jake Raburn
This is an agency bill for the Department of Agriculture and it includes language to reduce the license fees for concealed weapons and firearms licenses from $60 to $55 for the initial 7-year license and from $50 to $45 for a 7-year renewal license. HB-467 PASSED the House 117-0 and now goes to the Senate.
In Committee Action Wednesday 4-5-2017:
HB-1231 Agricultural Practices by Rep. Jake Raburn is a bill dealing several agricultural issues. Section 4 of the bill is language inserted (at the request of Rep. Tom Goodson) for big land owners to reduce the trespass posting requirement of private land. Trespass with a firearm is a 3rd degree felony and notification is critical to hunters and people who are licensed to carry. When informed of the problem, without hesitation, Rep. Raburn immediately agreed to remove the language from the bill. That language was amended out of the bill in the House Ways & Means Committee
BACKGROUND ON TRESPASS ISSUE
The reason this is such a critical issue is that Florida is the only state in the entire county that makes trespass with a firearm in the outdoors a felony. Further, the unauthorized entry onto posted land is prima facie evidence of intent to commit the act of trespass.
That means a hunter, hiker, bird watcher, fisherman, camper or someone just walking in the woods can go to jail for 5 years and lose their voting rights, their civil rights and their right to ever own a gun again, just for unintentionally wandering onto someone else's property while carrying a firearm for hunting or self-defense. Adequate posting of private land is essential to law-abiding people who enjoy the outdoors with their friends and families.
It was another incredibly busy week and thanks to your email to legislators, another hugely successful week. Next week already promises to be very busy and your help will be important.