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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Open carry is not going to happen,' Sen. Diaz de la Portilla says

16

February

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla said Tuesday evening a proposal allowing 1.5 million people with concealed weapons permits in Florida to openly carry handguns is officially dead for the 2016 session.

"Open carry is not going to happen; it's done," the Miami Republican senator told reporters.

Diaz de la Portilla had expressed growing reluctance for weeks about holding a hearing on SB 300, saying last week it was "on life support."

It's among three gun bills he's killing this session by not granting them hearings in his committee, a powerful prerogative that committee chairman have.

Last month, Diaz de la Portilla said he wouldn't hear a similarly controversial bill that would allow concealed-weapons permit-holders to carry concealed on public college and university campuses. Also Tuesday, he said he won't hear a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried in Florida airport terminals. (It passed its first committee earlier in the day but it won't be heard in the House, so it was essentially dead anyway.)

“On all of these gun bills, I don’t believe any of them are necessary,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “They could result in unintended consequences. I think we need to prioritize in our committee, as far as what we hear. We can’t hear every bill that’s referred to us.”

Both the campus-carry and open-carry bills passed the Republican-heavy House earlier this month. Diaz de la Portilla's decision to halt both of them has made him the target of praise from gun-control supporters and of anger from gun-rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association. (More here.)

UPDATE: (8:45 p.m.)

The Florida League of Women Voters -- one of the vocal opponents to open carry -- issued a statement this evening applauding Diaz de la Portilla's decision.

"This bill was an assault on public safety and yet another case of the gun lobby trying to force their way into the legislative agenda," league President Pamela Goodman said. "The League of Women Voters of Florida cannot praise Senator Diaz de la Portilla enough for listening to his constituents, listening to law enforcement, and listening to the vast majority of Floridians in opposing open carry."

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 8:44pm]

    

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