House Committee to Hear Open Carry Bill
The Florida House Judiciary Committee will hear a bill to legalize open carry in Florida Thursday morning.
HB 163, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, would make it legal for concealed carry permit holders to carry their firearms in public. Anyone who willfully infringes on concealed weapons permit holders’ right to openly carry (like law enforcement officers) would face a $5,000 fine. Government entities who try to infringe upon the open carry rule could face an even higher penalty, $100,000.
Florida law currently prohibits open carry.
Some law enforcement groups and city mayors around the state have already voiced concerns over the legislation, saying it would make law enforcement officers' jobs more difficult and would hurt Florida's economy.
It's legal for gun owners to carry handguns openly in 30 states without a license or permit, while 15 states require a license to carry openly. If the Florida Legislature approves the measure, Florida would become the 46th state to allow open carry.
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