Several Republican Florida lawmakers voted against a Democrat-introduced amendment Thursday that would remove the “gun free” status from the Florida Capitol, Second Amendment advocate Gun Owners Of America (GOA) told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The amendment, introduced by Democratic Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, was overturned by a voice vote on the floor during a discussion about the constitutional carry legislation, HB 543, that passed through the house Friday. Alongside the amendment, many Republican lawmakers have opposed adding an open carry amendment to the legislation, with Senate President Kathleen Passidomo saying she does not support open carry because the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) is against it.
“Republicans are showing their true colors on restoring our Second Amendment rights here in Florida. Whether it’s repealing gun free zones that only put innocent people in danger, or having the guts to pass Open Carry, they are failing miserably.” GOA Florida State Director Luis Valdes told the DCNF.
‘Open carry’ is now on the table as permitless carry bill goes to the House floor in Floridahttps://t.co/5UOCGMhNqy
— National Association for Gun Rights (@NatlGunRights) March 22, 2023
Republican Florida state Rep. Mike Beltran on Tuesday introduced an open carry amendment to the legislation that was pulled the next day, as lawmakers decided not to vote on the amendment. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made clear that he will sign the conditional carry legislation with an open carry amendment if it arrives on his desk, according to the Florida Phoenix.
Last week, DeSantis told Valdes that he supports the open carry amendment, but did not believe the legislature would send it to him. Regardless of the open carry amendment, Republican Florida House Speaker Paul Renner believes the conditional carry legislation is a win for the Second Amendment.
“This is important for everybody who believes in the Second Amendment to know that we are moving forwards on the Second Amendment,” Renner said during a conference Tuesday. “We are reclaiming and advancing the rights of men and women to protect and defend themselves and those they love. And so the fact that it doesn’t include open carry could be the cherry on top for some, but in essence this is accomplishing what constitutional carry is which is you do not need a separate permission slip from the Department of Agriculture as long as you pass a background check and you meet the other requirements that we have to carry concealed.”
Florida is the only red state without open carry and is one of three states across the country to not allow open carry, GOA told the DCNF.
Eskamani did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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