NRA-Backed Open-Carry Gun Bill Advances in Florida


A plan endorsed by the NRA that would allow more than 1.4 million Floridians to openly carry firearms continues to garner support in the Republican-led Legislature, despite concerns from law enforcement groups and other critics about the absence of additional training or holstering requirements and other safeguards, reports the Tampa Bay Times. House Bill 163 narrowly passed the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday by a 7-6 vote.

The sponsor, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, cited “urgency” in adopting the legislation “to fully vindicate the Second Amendment and the rights that Floridians ought to enjoy.” Kathleen Peters, a South Pasadena Democrat who voted against the measure, said the bill doesn’t address concerns related to public safety and wouldn’t expand any constitutional rights that Floridians don’t already have. Florida sheriffs and police groups strongly oppose the bill, as do state attorneys.

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