Gun-Rights Bills Die in Florida Senate

Efforts to change how and where more than 1.5 million people with concealed weapons licenses in Florida can carry handguns easily passed the state House — but did not receive the same treatment in the Senate.

Several pro-gun pieces of legislation passed by the Florida House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for consideration, have died in committee:

HB 4031: Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms: Deletes provisions prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into specified public meetings or into career centers.

HB 163: Weapons and Firearms: Providing that certain persons and public entities that infringe on specified rights of an individual may be subject to liability under specified provisions and have no immunity; providing that an employer may direct an employee regarding weapons; specifying that a law enforcement officer may arrest a person for the unlicensed carrying of a concealed weapon only upon reasonable suspicion or probable cause that such a violation is being committed; providing that certain legislators may carry a concealed weapon or firearm in meetings of the Legislature, etc.

HB 4001: Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms: Removes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility.

All three bills died in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Friday, March 11, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, had said weeks ago that he wouldn’t hear the campus-carry proposal in the judiciary committee for the second year in a row, and that he most likely would not hear the open-carry plan, either.

At the podium is Florida State Senator Miguel Díaz de la Portilla, who represents the 40th District, which includes western Miami-Dade County. Photo from his Facebook page.
At the podium is Florida State Senator Miguel Díaz de la Portilla, who represents the 40th District, which includes western Miami-Dade County. Photo from his Facebook page.

He kept his word and would not schedule any hearings on the proposed legislation. Without being vetted in Diaz de la Portilla’s committee, the bills go no further in the Florida Senate and essentially die for this legislative session.

If both HB 4001 and HB 163 had been accepted and approved by the Senate, concealed-weapons permit holders would have been able to openly carry on public college and university campuses.