While debate rages on both sides, a Florida House committee approved an open carry bill that would allow citizens to carry guns in plain sight while in public.
Three weeks after advancing a proposal to allow guns on college campuses, a Florida House committee approved an open carry bill that would allow licensed gun owners to brandish their sidearms in plain view.
According to CBS 10 News, if the bill is eventually passed into law, it will apply to those who have a concealed carry license; however, it will not prohibit banning guns on private property, schools, government meetings, airports, or bars.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, believes it would improve the safety of Florida residents. Opponents to the measure, such as gun law expert Charles Rose, are not so sure.
“It’s a full out assault on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Florida,” Rose said.
Many fear a “Wild West” environment if people are allowed to display firearms on their bodies. The law would also establish a standard where the police would be unable to question an individual with a visible weapon without probable cause, according to critics.
Still, with Florida’s largely pro-gun Republican Congress, the bill should have plenty of support as it moves forward.
Strangely, with controversial legislation such as “Stand Your Ground” in the books and boasting one of the first concealed weapons programs in the nation, Florida is one of five states without an open carry law.