With the Texas open carry law set to go into effect January 1, 2016, there are now 45 states with open carry laws, and Florida is vying to be number 46.
The open carry push is separate from but simultaneous with a campus carry push moving through the Florida legislature as well.
Ironically, this is exactly how open carry and campus carry both succeeded in Texas; they moved through in separate bills but during the same legislative session. Texas became the 45th state to pass laws allowing the open carry of handguns in May, and Abbot signed open carry into law on June 13, 2015. He signed campus carry into law that same day, and it takes effect in August 2016.
Florida lawmakers are now taking the same approach.
On November 1 United Sportsmen of Florida’s Marion Hammer pointed out that 45 states allow open carry. In so doing, she was responding to naysayers like Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who equates myriad restrictions on open carry in various states as a nullifying factor. But Hammer said, “Forty-five (45) states allow open carry of firearms. Varying restrictions on open carry in some states does not alter the fact that 45 states allow open carry.”
Politifact stepped in after Hammer made this claim and found that there are, in fact, only five states that bar open carry. Those are “California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina.” To be clear, Politifact did find great discrepancies in open carry laws from one state to another, but only five states bar the practice.
Florida state senator Don Gaetz (R-Dist. 1) is sponsoring SB 300 to move Florida out of the column of five states that oppose open carry and into the column of 45 that do not. SB 300’s House companion bill–HB 163–cleared the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that if legislation succeeds “The 1.45 million people in Florida with concealed-weapons licenses [will be able to] openly carry” their guns in businesses and properties that choose to allow open carry on their properties.
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