Legislators have proposed several law changes for the upcoming 2017 session that would either expand or restrict gun ownership and possession. None of the proposals have yet been vetted by lawmakers or are on the calendar to be heard in legislative committees, although at least a few are likely to be taken up. Companion bills typically need to be filed in both the House and the Senate in order for a proposal to have a chance at becoming law.
▪ OPEN CARRY (SB 140, from Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota): Would allow for the open carrying of handguns by the state’s 1.7 million concealed weapons permit-holders and would allow those permit-holders to carry guns in elementary and secondary schools, public college and university campuses, airport passenger terminals, legislative meetings, meetings of municipal, county, school or special district boards, and career centers.
▪ GUNS IN AIRPORTS (HB 6001, from State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in passenger terminals and non-“sterile” areas of airports, which are locations outside of security checkpoints.
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▪ GUNS ON CAMPUS (HB 6005, from Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns on public college and university campuses.
▪ TRIGGER LOCKS (SB 142, from Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Parkland): Would tighten language in an existing law that requires guns to be locked in a gun safe or have a trigger lock when around children age 16 or younger.
▪ GUNS IN THEATERS (SB 170, from Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens): Would prohibit concealed-weapons permit holders from carrying in performing arts centers or theaters.
▪ ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN (SB 254 / HB 167, from Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, both Orlando Democrats): Would ban in Florida many specific assault-style firearms and “parts that convert a firearm into an assault weapon,” such as large-capacity magazines. Would make it a third-degree felony, with some exceptions, to sell or possess an assault weapon or large-capacity magazine, among other restrictions.
▪ THREATENING VIOLENCE (SB 88, from Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota): Would criminalize the act of threatening to use a firearm in a violent manner, under penalty of committing a second-degree felony.
▪ STAND YOUR GROUND (SB 128, from Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island): Would shift the burden of proof in a criminal case where a defendant claims immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law by requiring the prosecutor, not the defendant, to prove at a pre-trial hearing why the defendant shouldn’t be granted immunity from prosecution.
Editor’s note: This includes bills filed as of Jan. 12, 2017.