[Editor’s note: This list will be updated as bills are filed or withdrawn. Last updated 6 p.m. Feb. 15.]
Legislators have proposed several law changes this year that would either expand or restrict gun ownership and possession.
Committee hearings began in January in the run up to the 2017 session, which begins in March. The following bills are not guaranteed to each be heard, but several are likely to be considered. Companion bills typically need to be filed in both the House and the Senate in order for a proposal to have a chance at becoming law.
▪ STAND YOUR GROUND (SB 128 / HB 245, from Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and Reps. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka and Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville): Would shift the burden of proof in a criminal case where a defendant claims immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law by requiring the prosecutor, not the defendant, to prove at a pre-trial hearing why the defendant shouldn’t be granted immunity from prosecution. In the amended Senate version, if the self-defense claim is unsuccessful, evidence presented at the pre-trial hearing would be inadmissible at trial.
▪ OPEN CARRY AND CARRYING CONCEALED (SB 140, from Steube): Would allow for the open carrying of handguns by the state’s 1.7 million concealed weapons permit-holders and would allow those permit-holders to carry guns in elementary and secondary schools, public college and university campuses, airport passenger terminals, legislative meetings, meetings of municipal, county, school or special district boards, and career centers. [Steube said on Jan. 24 that he would dismantle this proposal into potentially 10 individual bills, which now include Senate bills 616, 618, 620, 622, 626, 640 and 644.]
▪ GUN STORAGE (SB 142 / HB 835, from Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Parkland, and Rep. Patricia Hawkins Williams, D-Lauderdale Lakes): Would tighten language in an existing law that requires guns to be locked in a gun safe or have a trigger lock when around children age 16 or younger.
▪ GUNS IN THEATERS (SB 170, from Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens): Would prohibit concealed-weapons permit holders from carrying in performing arts centers or theaters.
▪ ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN (SB 254 / HB 167, from Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, both Orlando Democrats): Would ban in Florida many specific assault-style firearms and “parts that convert a firearm into an assault weapon,” such as large-capacity magazines. Would make it a third-degree felony, with some exceptions, to sell or possess an assault weapon or large-capacity magazine, among other restrictions.
▪ GUN BAN LIABILITY (SB 610 / HB 819, from Steube and Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach): Would make a private “business, organization, or entity” that bans concealed weapons liable for any injury or damage caused by a person or animal, if the incident “could reasonably have been prevented” had the permit-holder not been required to be disarmed.
▪ GUNS IN COURTHOUSES (SB 616, from Steube): Would allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in to courthouses and temporarily surrender and store the gun at a security checkpoint.
▪ GUNS IN AIRPORTS (SB 618 / HB 6001, from Steube and Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in passenger terminals and non-“sterile” areas of airports, which are locations outside of security checkpoints.
▪ GUNS IN LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS (SB 620, from Steube): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in meetings of the Legislature, which include formal sessions and committee hearings.
▪ GUNS ON CAMPUS (SB 622 / HB 6005, from Steube and Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns on public college and university campuses. [Steube’s version is different in that it also clarifies guns would still be banned from any K-12, college or university athletic event “not related to firearms.”]
▪ GUNS IN GOVERNMENT MEETINGS (SB 626, from Steube): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in meetings of any municipality, county, school district or special district.
▪ GUNS IN CAREER CENTERS (SB 640, from Steube): Would lift a current ban and allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in career centers.
▪ OPEN CARRY (SB 644, from Steube): Would allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns openly in places they can now carry concealed.
▪ CONCEAL-CARRY PROTECTION (SB 646 / HB 779, from Steube and Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk County): Would protect concealed weapons permit-holders from arrest or criminal charges if they “temporarily and openly display” their gun. Would also let members of the Florida Cabinet — the state chief financial officer, attorney general and agriculture commissioner — who have a concealed weapons permit carry concealed “anywhere they are not prohibited by federal law.”
▪ CRIMINAL PENALTIES (SB 648, from Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation): Would enhance criminal penalties for brandishing a dangerous weapon or firearm on or near school grounds or a school-sponsored activity. Creates criminal penalties if a gun is discharged when obtained by a minor.
▪ CARRY CONCEALED (SB 908 / HB 803, from Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala and Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, R-The Villages): Would allow concealed guns at Florida’s 15 seaports and remove all 15 locations in state law where concealed weapons permit-holders cannot currently carry. Those areas include: police, sheriff or highway patrol stations; jails and prisons; courthouses and courtrooms; polling places; government and legislative meetings; school, college or professional athletic events; public K-12 schools and public college and university campuses; career centers; establishments that serve alcohol; airport passenger terminals and locations where federal law prohibits carrying guns.
▪ MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING (SB 956, from Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami Shores): Would require someone applying for a concealed-weapons permit to undergo a mental health evaluation done by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist and be deemed “competent and of sound mind.”
▪ POLICE WAITING PERIOD EXEMPTION (SJR 910 and SB 912 / HJR 291 and HB 673, from Baxley, Hahnfeldt and Rep. Robert Asencio, D-Miami): Proposes and implements a constitutional amendment to exempt law enforcement officers from the mandatory three-day waiting period for purchasing handguns. [Constitutional amendments must be approved by three-fifths of both the House and Senate — 72 members in the House and 24 in the Senate — in order to be placed on a ballot, and then 60-percent approval from voters is required for the measure to become law.]
▪ FIREARM PURCHASES (HB 809, from Rep. Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale): Requires individuals who seek to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer to provide information to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about their criminal history and other information about their eligibility to make the purchase, and requires FDLE to notify law enforcement agencies when the buyer is flagged as being prohibited from buying a gun.