Republican Lawmaker Pushes For Open Carry In Florida

| by Robert Fowler
Men with guns in holstersMen with guns in holsters

The Florida Legislature has been stockpiling a number of gun bills that would dramatically increase the presence of firearm visibility and broaden the definition of where guns are allowed. These bills will be decided upon during the upcoming legislative session in January 2016. 

One such bill would enable citizens who already possess a concealed weapons permit to open carry in public. The bill is being championed by the Republican father-son team of State Rep. Matt Gaetz, who filed the bill, and State Sen. Don Gaetz, who is sponsoring it.

The bill reads “…that the possession and carrying of weapons and firearms by law-abiding individuals for lawful purposes, including self-defense, enhances public safety," according to WFTV.

Gaetz’s legislation is just one of many gun bills being mulled over by Florida lawmakers. 

Other gun-related bills that will be up for debate in the Florida legislature come January have already sparked controversy, the Sun Sentinel reports.

These bills, if approved, would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns on college campuses, allow police and military servicemen (either active or retired) patrol K-12 campuses with a firearm, and further strengthen Stand Your Ground defenses by putting the burden of proof on the State.

University presidents, chiefs of police and student bodies have all been vocally against allowing guns on college campuses. 

"What we do in a campus environment is stimulate and sometime(s) provoke the students who are on our campuses in order for them to learn," Tallahassee Community College President Jim Murdaugh said. "We cause them to challenge what they believe, and sometimes that results in friction between faculty and students.

"The idea of having someone armed in that kind of environment … is not something that leads, in my estimation, likely to good outcomes."

A survey conducted by the Sun Sentinel shows that every Florida county school superintendent is in favor of allowing guns on K-12 schools. 

Sources: Sun Sentinel, WFTV / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, WFTV