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End of the Road Near for Open Carry, Campus Carry -- At Least For Now

April 17, 2017 - 1:15pm

It appears Florida won’t be legalizing open carry, airport carry and campus carry -- at least not this year. 

A slew of gun bills proposed during this year’s legislative session, all sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, have once again ended up in the legislative graveyard and none of them will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s final hearing Wednesday.

The committee, which Steube heads, has an agenda of over a dozen bills for its last meeting -- none of which are gun-related. This week's meeting, during the seventh week of session, is the final Judiciary committee hearing until next year. 

The lack of gun proposals on the agenda means gun activists will have to wait until then to make another push to expand gun access in the Sunshine State. 

Nearly all of the gun proposals were effectively killed off earlier this legislative session by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who took a stance against the measures by saying she wouldn’t support Steube’s gun bills.

“Throughout my personal, professional, and legislative career I have expressed concerns with the reduction of traditional gun-free zones,” Flores told Sunshine State News in March. “This is not something new nor should it be a surprise to those who follow the legislative process.”

Flores’ vote was critical to move the committee in the opposite direction away from Steube’s proposals -- her “nay” vote would have been the swing with four Democrats to dash the freshman Sarasota senator’s legislative aspirations to the rocks. 

Steube had a small victory when the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill which would allow concealed weapons permit holders to temporarily store their firearms in courthouses, but the victory has been short-lived. 

SB 616 has yet to make any moves from the Judiciary committee and has no House companion bill, which means there’s an extra burial plot next to all of Steube’s other bills which didn’t make it out of the gate this year.

Flores’ swift knock on the gun bills didn’t go unnoticed -- the National Rifle Association has frequently blasted her since the infamous hearing when she said gun bills were a no-go for her. 

“We thought once we had a pro-gun Senate President again we wouldn't have a repeat performance of the obstructionist tactics of former Sen. President Andy Gardiner and Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla,” the National Rifle Association wrote in a March 29 email

The email references former Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, who killed off numerous bills in the Judiciary last year.

“Right now, a single Senator from Miami is controlling which bills get out of her committee and keeping the Senate from being able to vote on bills she doesn't like,” the email continued.

Other pro-gun groups, like Florida Carry, slammed Flores for her “betrayal,” dubbing her a  “turncoat” against Second Amendment issues she had previously supported when first elected to the Florida Senate in 2010.

“Voters don't like politicians who suddenly flip-flop on core values for political ends,” the group wrote. “As President Pro Tempore Sen. Flores is the second highest ranking Republican in the FL Senate. It is unclear if she also speaks for the Senate President's Office or if she just ‘went rogue.’”

Despite setbacks, NRA past president and lobbyist Marion Hammer says she will continue lobbying hot and heavy for gun bills -- and says not to count her or gun rights activists out just yet.

“Years ago I saw a bill of ours passed at the last hour of session,” she told Sunshine State News on Monday. “With all the time we have left, why should I get upset that these bills aren’t on the agenda?”

Questioned about the possibility of an unsuccessful run to pass pro-gun bills, Hammer shrugged off the possibility, saying some bills take longer than others to pass. Concealed carry, for example, took seven years in the state legislature before finally being made a law.

“Anything can happen in the legislative process,” she said. “If it’s worth filing, it’s worth passing, if not now, then later. We do not quit. It ain’t over til it’s over.” 

Sen. Steube, a longtime supporter of Second Amendment rights, has previously said he has no intentions of letting up on trying to pass the legislation.  

SSN contacted Steube for further comment but had not received a response at the time of this article’s release. 


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen



None of these bills have anything to do with the Second Amendment. The Second was written as a prohibition on the federal government only. The 20th century legal hoax of incorporating the Bill of Rights against the states does not change the original intent anymore than a jewel thief is the legal owner of items from his latest robbery. These bills expand the RKBA as codified in our state constitution's Declaration of Rights, Article 1 Section 8. Labeling every gun issue a 2A issue is another blow to federalism and empowers the federal government to continue being the arbiter of its own power. As for Justice Scalia and the SCOTUS opinions, Scalia also said the 2A is not an absolute right without restrictions. So much for your pro gun hero. There is no limit to this. Had the framers intended limits they would have placed it in the Amendment. Stop confusing things. This is a state, not a federal issue. Federalism matters despite what the NRA and GOA think.

Our Florida representatives are supposed to be working for us not telling us(we the people) what we will take,do & put up with.We are supposed to have the same rights of the other 45 States that allow open carry.As I said they work for us,we don't work for t

That downtown, rich miami scumbag telling the rest of the state what to do just like de la portalia. I'm getting tired of seeing other states get ahead but NOT us. Your health care sucks, your benefits suck and your drivers suck!

Senetor Flores is not representative of her constituents. When she campaigned walking down my street she refused to talk to me about her position on gun rights. She walked away and refused to continue the conversation. I guess my Trump signs offended her.

Arrest sen.flores under 18 u.s.c. s.s. 241 10 years in prison she definitely commited a felon but you folks in Florida don't care for or the constitution it's your call. .

Correction the law.

Time to protest outside her house

Yet again, one senator from Miami has the power to block a bill from a vote. Miami senator Flores does not rule Florida, hence she should stop acting like it. Let the other legislators representing all of Florida decide on the open carry bill. This is not Cuban politics. This is a Democracy! Let the process of Democracy rule!

Looks some more people will be losing their seats come election time.

How did the red state let the communist/liberals win this, Rick Scott must order the immediate execution of all liberals in Florida, we cannot let these pacifist rule our state or our country.

These laws were not for an expansion of gun rights, the right to arms is already established. These laws were for a reduction of unconstitutional restrictions on the right to arms. "...with the reduction of traditional gun-free zones,” GFZ's are not traditional, they are a magnet for crazies who want unfettered access to victims. If you aren't trying to reduce the numbers then you are just promoting more victims.

Keep up your obstructionism Tallahassee; We're "keeping a list and we're checking it twice"...(at least).

Thank God this had not passed. Get some sense people. Open carry? This is not 1848. I am on the left, I like my guns, i carry, I want gun laws too. GWEN GRAHAM for Governor!!!!

I moved to Florida from Pennsylvania were open carry or legal in the state. You could walk down through the middle of town and see no one with a gun attached to their hips. Most people I know in the state who can leagally carry a gun does so By concealment. We call it... the altimeter surprise. You never see anyone open carry except when hunting.

I agree totally concealed carry is ok fo r me in fl.

Open carry is the Second Amendment, so said the Supreme via dicta in DC v. Heller (2008).

Angie Let's hope you don't get your ass locked up for accidentally exposing your weapon to one of your Lib friends who calls the cops. The "open-carry" bill was for that purpose. 1.7 CCW voters and their families: dump this phony republican and the rest like her.

Accidentally briefly showing your concealed gun will not get you arrested. That flaw in the original concealed carry law was already fixed years ago.

I would like to know where i can find any write up on where that was fixed years ago.

You sounded 'sorta' smart, until you said "Gwen Graham for Governor"...."Nepotism" MUST NOT rear its ugly head; Gwen did absolutely NOTHING of substance in District Two: (Can't see turning over the whole State to her)! ! !

last time I checked Danny boy, the entire game is run by Repubs and nothing is getting done... Dems won't do it either, so let's get some common sense Independents in there that are not controlled by the checkbooks of others...we can always dream...

Time for new Republicans who will do what they're sent to Tallahassee for. When Democrats are controlling the most important issues to conservatives, that's a big, big problem. Time to start putting money into actual conservatives. Hope this is ringing in any idiots' ears who think we need a liberal as Florida's next governor.

Time to stop thinking you can buy laws by political contributions and time to elect people who will represent their constituents views, have a moral compass, and cannot be bought, regardless of their party affiliation.

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