The Sunshine State might be the 46th state to allow open carry of firearms.
On January 1, a new open carry law goes into effect in Texas, which will make it the 45th to adopt some kind of open carry law. Now, a bill is making its way through the Florida legislature that would allow that state’s 1.43 million concealed carry permit holders to carry openly.
According to this story from breitbart.com, the open carry legislation in Florida isn’t related to a push for allowing concealed carry on college campuses, also making its way through the Florida legislature.
As we reported in the past, the open carry and campus carry laws were also separate bills voted on during the same session in Texas before the open carry bill was signed into law on June 13, 2015. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the campus carry bill into law the same day at a gun range.
According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the House justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday narrowly backed HB 163 that would allow the 1.43 million Floridians with concealed-carry permits to openly carry.
The narrow victory (7-6) came after language was attached to the bill intended to “protect businesses and private property owners who don’t want people to openly carry on their premises,” the story says.
The measure has now cleared two House committees, is backed by gun-rights groups and is opposed by a majority of Florida’s sheriffs, the story says.
However, some sheriffs are advocates of the bill.
Liberty County Sheriff Nick Ginch said the state needs to give citizens every opportunity to defend themselves, “especially in the times we’re living in. Look at what happened in Paris, France. Nobody was armed, so there is a lot of dead folks. It’s ugly, but that’s the facts.”