TALLAHASSEE -- Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has another target for where he believes the state should allow licensed concealed-carry holders to bring their firearms: elementary and secondary schools.
It's Steube's third proposed bill this session that would expand rights to concealed carry permit holders.
Steube filed legislation in late 2015 to allow concealed carry on university campuses, which has passed all three committees in the House and two of four committees in the Senate. He filed that same legislation in last year's session and it failed.
After critics of that legislation called Steube a hypocrite for wanting guns on university campuses but not moving to allow them within meetings of the Legislature, Steube filed another bill to allow concealed carry within the Legislature and local government meetings. That bill has been referred to three House committees but is not scheduled for any hearings, and it has no Senate companion bill.
Steube filed the bill to allow concealed carry in kindergarten through 12th grade facilities on Sunday. It isn't exactly a first for Steube, who last year filed comprehensive legislation on the subject.
The 2015 session's version allowed for the superintendent of school districts to authorize "school safety designees," who would have to submit to level two background checks and meet certain training requirements set by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Those designees would then be able to carry guns on elementary and secondary school campuses, but superintendents did not have to participate. The bill passed its three House committees, but like the university bill in the 2015 session, it stalled in the Senate.
Steube was not available for comment Tuesday, but has said while defending previous gun bills that tragedies such as the slaughter of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., could have been prevented if responsible concealed carry permit holders were on scene with a weapon.
"Every one of these college campuses that has had a shooting has been a gun-free zone," Steube said in November, discussing his campus-carry bill.
John Colon, a school board member of the Manatee County School District, said he didn't think the bill was a good idea.
"I would not support guns in elementary and secondary schools," Colon said. "I don't think that's very productive."
Other locations where firearms are prohibited under Florida law include bars, polling places, detention facilities, courthouses and parts of airports.
Kate Irby, online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055.