Shot down: Three pro-gun bills defeated in Senate committee

Miami-Dade opposition dooms proposals in Senate Judiciary Committee<br>
Published Dec. 5, 2017|Updated Dec. 5, 2017

It was a rough day Tuesday for pro-gun forces in the Florida Legislature.

Three Second Amendment proposals were killed one by one in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as one or two Republicans sided with Democrats to send the bills to the legislative scrap heap.

Two bills were sponsored by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who is one of the Legislature’s most reliable supporters of the gun lobby.

But opposition from two Miami-Dade Republicans, Sens. Anitere Flores and Rene Garcia, was decisive.

One of the bills defeated on Tuesday (SB 274) would have allowed people with concealed weapons licenses to carry guns at private schools on the same grounds as churches. Under current law, only law enforcement officers can carry guns on school grounds. That bill was a proposal by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. Flores and Garcia voted no. along with all four Democrats on the panel, and the bill died, 6-4.

A Steube-sponsored bill (SB 148) clarified the manner in which a legally concealed firearm may briefly be displayed without violating the open carry ban. It died on a 5-5 tie as Flores cast the deciding vote.

A third defeated proposal, also sponsored by Steube (SB 134), would have allowed gun permit holders to bring weapons into courthouses, but required them to be surrendered and kept in a safe place. Again, Flores and Garcia voted no and the bill failed on a 6-4 vote.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said a fourth bill was defeated. That bill (SB 240) was not voted on Tuesday.