FL House looks at 'open carry' gun law today

FL House looks at "open carry" gun law today

A bill that would let people in Florida carry their guns out in the open is up for its first debate on Tuesday.

How to stop gun violence in Florida will be all the talk in Tallahassee as members of the Legislature look at a bill (HB 163) that would let people wear their guns on their hips in most places, including out shopping with their families.

Owners of private property like malls and movie theaters can still ban all guns if they choose, whether you have a concealed weapons license or not.

And under Florida law, there's no carrying any guns in schools, government meetings, airports, or bars.

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But just about anywhere else -- in a restaurant, at the park, or in other public places -- you could carry a handgun on your hip.

You'd still have to go through training and get a license to carry a concealed handgun.

But if the "open carry" law that gets its first hearing Tuesday morning eventually passes, those concealed guns could be also carried out in the open, typically on a hip, in a holster.

The bill has a local sponsor in the Tampa Bay area, Republican Rep. Neil Combee, from Polk County.

An advocacy group -- the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence -- says Florida is one of just five states that ban all open carrying of handguns.

This bill would add Florida to the 15 states that do allow it for people who have certain licenses or permits.

But most states -- 30 of them -- actually allow you to openly carry a gun with no special license at all.

There may also be a change coming that could affect your family in another way: I mentioned earlier that, no matter what, guns would still be banned in schools.

That may no longer be the case starting in the summer of 2016. There is a separate bill working its way through the Florida Legislature that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

That bill (HB 4001) has already passed some early votes and is moving forward in the Legislature right now. If it's approved in the weeks ahead and becomes law, it would take effect on July 1, 2016.


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