Florida Gun-Free Zones on Chopping Block

Florida Gun-Free Zones on Chopping Block
“Perpetrators of violence do not care what your rules are," pointed out one of the legislators who introduced the proposal.web photo

Two Republican lawmakers in Florida are pushing to get rid of all the state's "gun-free zones," including 15 locations listed in state law where concealed carry is prohibited, according to this story from the Miami Herald.

The story says Sen. Dennis Baxley and Rep. Don Hahnfeldt have proposed two bills, SB 908 and HB 803, that would eliminate all state-imposed restrictions on where Florida's concealed weapons permit-holders can carry with the goal of allowing businesses, institutions, and people to have greater control over their own protection.

"Perpetrators of violence do not care what your rules are and are armed," Baxley said in a text message, the Herald reports. "This bill eliminates the sterile target we have created with noble intentions."

If the law passes, CCW permit holders would be allowed to carry at the following currently prohibited locations: Florida’s 15 seaports; in police, sheriff, and highway patrol stations; jails and prisons; courthouses; airport passenger terminals; polling places; government and legislative meetings; public K-12 schools; public college and university campuses; school, college, and professional athletic events; career centers; and bars and other establishments that serve alcohol.

The only location restrictions that would remain would be those imposed by federal law, the story say, and private property owners could choose to prohibit concealed firearms.

The state currently has more than 1.7 million licensed concealed carriers, the story says, the most of any state, of course excluding states with constitutional carry laws.

"Gun-free zones have been a failure," Hahnfeldt said in the story, adding that the restrictions have made "businesses more susceptible to harm and damage by an ill-intended perpetrator."

"This gives these businesses and institutions an opportunity to better protect themselves, their place of business, their employees and their guests in the event of an unfortunate incident so that maybe the next Pulse, the next Fort Lauderdale…may not happen," Hahnfeldt said in the story.

Last month, a deranged man shot and killed five innocent people and wounded six others in a baggage terminal outside of TSA checkpoints at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Bills had been filed weeks before that would allow residents with CCW permits to carry in airport passenger terminals filed by state Sen. Greg Steube and state Rep. Jake Raburn, both Republicans.