Steube shoots out bills
A slew of gun legislation is percolating in Tallahassee — once again with Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, at the head of the class. Undaunted by defeats year after year while he served in the state House, the first-term senator broke one large bill with many elements into individual measures to improve the odds of passage.
That bill (SB 140) currently carries components this Editorial Board has opposed over the years: open carry of firearms by Florida’s 1.7 million weapons permit-holders, granting those licensees the right to carry guns in elementary and secondary schools, on public university and college campuses; in airport passenger terminals; and meetings of school boards, cities, counties, special district boards, career centers and the Legislature. The existing bans on firearms in those places should remain.
Steube also authored another terrible measure (SB 610) that ought to frighten businesses and private organizations and other entities that currently ban weapons. This bill makes those places liable for injuries or damage if the sequence of events “could reasonably have been prevented” had concealed-carry permit-holders been allowed to be armed. Private entities would lose their rights and be stripped of their bans or be sued over violent incidents. Why put the onus on private entities?
Never miss a local story.
Of the 14 guns bills currently filed, Steube has fathered eight.
One key question is this: Will more guns in public make Florida a safer place? Imagine someone with a gun on their hip at one of the state’s theme parks and hundreds of children enjoying the day. Would seeing a weapon openly carried spoil the fun at, say, Disney World?
Are firearms in more places the solution to gun assaults? That gun-holder better be a sharpshooter, or collateral damage could occur.
“I understand where people are coming from when they say that carrying a gun in the open could save people, but it does harm. It scares the (heck) out of people,” Dave Hoover, a Colorado police sergeant, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “And then, when I get there as a police officer and I see a man standing there that’s not in uniform with a gun, that person will be treated as a bad guy until I can confirm that he isn’t. And even then, my attention has been distracted.”
So the good guy attempting to stop a bad guy could get shot by authorities. The very idea of gun battles in public is appalling.
Hope for craft breweries
Cheers to state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa. She filed a bill friendly to craft breweries this week, one that will gouge an inherently unfair law. Currently, if a brewer wants to sell kegs to the public, they must sell the goods to a distributor — creating an unnecessary middle man that reaps profits since the brewer loses control of the price.
Young’s bill (SB 554) gives the smallest of craft brewers the opportunity to grow their businesses by allowing these business to distribute their product up to 7,000 kegs. After hitting that limit, the brews must have a distributor deliver the goods.
This would encourage breweries to grow their businesses. “We want to see the craft beer industry continue their trend of record growth and this bill will help new brewers get their beer to market faster,” Young stated in a press release.
The only opponents we see are the distributors who lose what is likely a small part of their businesses. We encourage the pubic to help brewers lobby for passage.
Quote of the week
“We’ve got to just have a variety of things and our communities have to be engaged because at the end of the day, it really does affect all of us. It’s not just a law enforcement problem. It’s not just a medical care problem. It’s a community problem.”
Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, commenting on the opioid epidemic plaguing Florida, particularly in Manatee County. He was addressing the crowd at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s Pancakes & Politics Legislative Session Preview on Monday.