Gun Bills Silenced In Florida Senate Committee

December 6, 2017

With the 2018 legislative session still more than a month away, gun-related measures might have died Tuesday in the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been a stumbling block in recent years for Second Amendment-related bills, narrowly rejected proposals that sought to allow Floridians with concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms up to the entrances of courthouses (SB 134); inadvertently display handguns (SB 148); and pack heat at religious institutions that include private schools or day-care facilities (SB 274).

Also, committee Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who sponsored two of the proposals, said after the meeting he has no intention of reviving some more-controversial measures from past years. Those measures sought to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms and to carry guns into airport terminals and on university and college campuses.

“You saw what happened here today,” Steube said.

Tuesday’s votes came as lawmakers hold committee meetings to prepare for the 2018 session, which starts Jan. 9. Opposition on the Judiciary Committee to the gun-related bills came — as it has in the past — from Democrats and some South Florida Republicans.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, said he couldn’t support gun-related measures that fail to address mental-health issues. Also, he said the Senate should stick with a compromise it reached during the 2017 session on guns at religious institutions. The Senate compromise was rejected by the House.

“It’s not about the policy, but the process, and about what I think we as a Senate should be standing up for and holding our position,” Garcia said.

The Senate version during the 2017 session would have allowed people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at religious institutions outside of school hours or when school activities weren’t occurring.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, agreed with Garcia that the compromise language should have been maintained.

Flores, who voted against all three bills, also said a change was needed on the bill dealing with allowing the inadvertent display of handguns. Such a change would indicate the temporary display was conducted in a “non-threatening manner.”

“Right now, the way that bill reads is, it allows temporary and openly displaying, that would allow brandishing, and that is a concern of mine,” Flores said.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who called the religious-institution proposal a private property-rights measure, said with 2018 an election year it’s important to know who isn’t being truthful in their support of Second Amendment issues.

“We had Republicans who joined the Democrats as obstructionists last year, and bills would be (temporarily postponed), which was a type of protectionism for Republicans,” Hammer said. “This year, thankfully, they voted. They’ve been outed, and now we can report it.”

Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, argued in support of the religious-institution measure to prevent a repeat of carnage that occurred last month at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“What we have in place right now, people are getting killed and there is no one there to stop them,” Mayfield said.

On Nov. 5, 26 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a gunman started firing into a Baptist church from across the street, before making his way into the building. The gunman, who later died of a self-inflicted wound, was shot twice as he exited the church.

Sen, Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican who sponsored the religious-institution proposal, said the two sides in the debate might never come to an agreement.

“The real compromise we’re looking for is between two very different schools of thought,” Stargel said. “One is, having less guns in the community is going to create less crime and less violence. And the other school of thought is my school of thought, which is personal responsibility, which is I don’t want to designate to somebody else my responsibility to protect myself and my family.”

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida


14 Responses to “Gun Bills Silenced In Florida Senate Committee”

  1. Tabby on December 10th, 2017 2:28 pm

    Maybe you should change your party affiliation. However, it matters not. Republicans aren’t the same anymore either. Slinging mud, not at all. Should I just pervert and distort the way things really are for your “feel good” political views ? Unsubstantiated claim ? Please clarify. I don’t find people to hate, there are plenty without looking. It’s not extreme although rare to interpret the constitution as written. Homosexuals were hung when their supposed rights were written, explain that. Besides, it’s against nature, and a choice. So forget law.

  2. John Reading on December 10th, 2017 10:01 am

    People with concealed carry permits should NOT BE PERMITTED to protect weasels that are happy with criminals and their stolen guns. Submit the sheep to the slaughterhouse of their choosing.

  3. David Huie Green on December 9th, 2017 1:06 pm

    “In San Francisco they just released a murderer that just so happened to be an illegal immigrant that was previously deported back to Mexico 6 times.”

    He was here illegally. He had been deported repeatedly — well, 5 times anyway. This is also true.

    That he was a murderer has been rejected by a jury.
    Garcia Zarate’s defense attorney said the shooting was accidental and the bullet ricocheted off the ground and traveled about 80 feet before hitting Steinle.
    The jury was convinced there was reasonable doubt he intended to hurt her, may not have intended to discharge the weapon.

    Me not know. You not know.

    David for justice

  4. Simmerdown on December 8th, 2017 10:37 am

    @Bob – Good point, I guess, but I think we can both imagine a situation where it would be an advantage for the police to be armed with guns even if the populace is not.

    @ Tabby – I think people are just curious why you would frame your argument the way you did. Start by slinging mud, make an unsubstantiated claim, then throw more mud. That’s probably not an effective way of arguing once you get out of 2nd grade.

    Are you saying people who accept ‘gender benders’, homosexuals, etc., are communists? I don’t follow. I’m just trying to see if I need to change my party affiliation on my voter’s registration card to Neo-Communist.

    I’m currently registered as a Republican but the extremism and intolerance is distressing. Where should a fiscal conservative who doesn’t look for reasons hate people who are different go?

    I wish you well.

  5. 429SCJ on December 8th, 2017 7:36 am

    @ Senator Rene Garcia, we do not brandish our firearms around here, if we draw our weapon, it is to shoot something or someone who/that needs shooting.

    You focus on yours, we shall focus on ours.

  6. Tabby on December 7th, 2017 5:08 am

    @ John- I agree. LEOS are hampered by politics. They can’t possibly be effective. In the days of Constable Carlson and later, Constable Booker, they kept folks in line around here (for those that needed it).
    As for the rest–If you take offense to what I said, I may be talking about you. Those who promote or condone gender benders, homosexuality, identity politics, etc are those I speak of. We are different no matter how much govt, MSM, Hollywood, College Universities, etc try to push the acceptance agenda. Cable TV and internet have ruined America. Sad.

  7. Bob's Brother on December 6th, 2017 6:41 pm

    @Simmerdown… if that were true, why would cops need guns?

  8. Bob's Brother on December 6th, 2017 5:01 pm

    The NRA lobbyist is correct, Churches are private property. The Church, every church, should have at least 3 or more members in the sanctuary at any given time who are armed… well armed. A few years back, a retired woman police officer stopped a murderer who had hundreds of rounds of ammo and several weapons. He’d already killed people in the parking lot. When the shooter entered the church, he obviously intended killing as many innocents as possible. The brave woman wounded the gunman with her service revolver and he committed suicide if I recall correctly.

  9. Reality Check on December 6th, 2017 11:48 am

    It seems like a fair discussion to be had. I personally dislike seeing decisions kicked down the road, but I dislike rushed decisions even more. The issue of accidentally showing a concealed weapon vs. intentional brandishing seems more like an issue with wording. As a gun owner and concealed carrier, I don’t feel that ANY discussion on how to proceed regarding guns is an automatic attack on the second amendment. It’s wrong to just claim (because you’re paid as a lobbyist to do so) that any discussion is an offense to your gun rights. That’s called “money in politics” right there. Truthfully, these are very important decisions. People carry now, and crime still happens, so I’m not convinced the two are correlated. Regarding the open carry, it matters little to me. I’d still carry in a concealed fashion just for the element of surprise. Having a gun visible on my hip for all to view won’t protect me in and of itself. After all, even the police are shot at.

  10. Sueellen on December 6th, 2017 10:50 am

    What exactly is a “neo-communist liberal” and where would I find one?

  11. Simmerdown on December 6th, 2017 10:16 am

    @Tabby, Way to keep the conversation civil. Start by calling people who disagree with you Neo-communist liberals. Classic. Yes, clearly the thought that we’d be safer if there were no guns in the hands of anyone except for LEO is idiocy. Wait. No it isn’t. If only LEO’s had guns we would be way safer. You have to admit that.

    The real issue is that we will never reach that state. Nor should we, in my opinion. I own guns and wish to continue to own them. I will protect my home and family. But, I do think there is room for discussion about limiting access to certain types of weapons by certain people. And I think there should be some restrictions on where people should be able to carry their weapons.

    If we were to have a discussion about this, like adults, then I don’t think starting with a smear is the way to go. Respectful disagreement seems to have been lost.


  12. Don on December 6th, 2017 9:18 am

    Sounds like it’s time to drain the Florida’s
    Senate swamp.
    I would wonder which lobby is filling their pockets and pulling their strings.
    I’m sure that if these people had to wait for the LEO’S to get to the scene like rural people do ,the answers would be much different.
    LEO’S are already spread to thin.
    I would and will answer the threat to my family and friends quickly and “accurately “.

  13. john on December 6th, 2017 6:32 am

    @tabby and not only that, law enforcement officers if they make one tiny mistake they will be crushed, so they are more restrained in doing their job. We don’t execute murderers and rapists anymore and in fact we just let them go. In San Francisco they just released a murderer that just so happened to be an illegal immigrant that was previously deported back to Mexico 6 times. If you were to look at the records of each individual in our area arrested for battery or robbery and such…. Many of these folks have a history that would take four or five file folders to hold them. So what do we do, we keep turning them loose and they keep doing things over and over again

  14. Tabby on December 6th, 2017 5:08 am

    I like Sen. Stargels school of thought. Neo-communist liberals want all guns banned with the exception of LEO’s with the school of thought that they will protect people. That thought is idiocy plain and simple. Just read the news and see how well LEO’S protect people now. Not that they don’t intend to, there’s just too much crime. Imagine how emboldened criminals would be with the knowledge people don’t have firearms and only have to watch out for LEO.

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