Open carry HB 163 passes first round in Florida

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Florida — On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, in an 8-4 vote, approved HB 163 in its first round and paved the way for open carry in the State of Florida.

The Bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, says this will make Florida safer, and many agree.

Gaetz says that the states that currently allow for open carry have much lower crime rates. In fact, areas that allow open carry have virtually no crime at all. He said the statistics maintained by the Department of Justice are undeniable.

Some law enforcement agencies have lashed out against the bill due to verbiage contained within it.

Part of HB 163 specifies that any law enforcement officer may arrest a person for unlicensed carrying of concealed weapon only upon probable cause that such violation is being committed. HB 163 provides that a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon may also openly carry such firearm or weapon; provides liability for person or entity who infringes on specified rights; provides exception; provides that certain persons & entities have no immunity; revises legislative findings concerning possession & carrying of weapons & firearms; revises provisions concerning construction of provisions.

Gaetz says that the bill is intended to fully protect citizens who are licensed to open carry from being harassed by law enforcement, unless an individual is committing a crime.

“Even if someone looks suspicious with a gun on their hip, police would be bound to stay away,” gun law expert Charles Rose said. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

Democratic Rep. and former police officer Dave Kerner opposed HB 163. He said that he was worried that a criminal might be able to take a gun from someone if they were practicing open carry.

In a survey conducted on inmates by the Department of Justice, it showed that criminals are not afraid of police. Instead, the survey showed that criminals are more afraid of armed citizens.

The survey asked: What deterred criminals more, armed victims or the police? The results were stunning. More than 57 percent of felons polled answered that criminals are more worried about confronting an armed victim than they are about the police.

Researcher Gary Kleck proved that 92 percent of criminal attacks are deterred when a gun is presented by the victim or is in plain sight to criminals, without a shot ever having to be fired. Open carry has been proven time and time again to deter crime. States that have open carry, such as Alaska, have an extremely low crime rate.

The gun debate is not anything new. It has been in the spotlight since the early 80’s. In 1982, Atlanta suburb Kennesaw passed an ordinance that required all households to have a gun. The ordinance was mandatory. Subsequently, residential burglary rates dropped 89 percent in Kennesaw, compared to the modest 10.4 percent drop in Georgia as a whole.

Thirty years later, the residential burglary rate in Kennesaw is still 72 percent lower than before the ordinance was passed, proving that when criminals know a citizen is armed, they will not proceed. It mirrors that old joke, “criminals will never rob a doughnut shop because that’s where all the cops are.”

HB 163 also reads, “The right to bear arms is a fundamental and individual right that exists in any place that a person has the right to be, subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions that employ the least possible restriction on the right in order to achieve a compelling government interest.”

In addition to open carry, many feel that Florida teachers should be able to carry a gun while on campus.

In Arkansas, where teachers are now known as guards and are permitted to carry 9mm handguns, they have had zero incidents since the policy was enacted. Utah teachers have been carrying weapons in schools for more than a decade now. The state has never had a mass shooting in its schools and has never had an accidental shooting or problems with students getting their hands on a teacher’s gun.

One Florida school official said, “Their schools are the safest and the kids are more behaved than that of students in Florida schools.” However, the bill that would allow for teachers to carry handguns never made it off the ground.

As for open carry in Florida, HB 163 will now head to four more committees before heading to a full floor vote.

Do you think open carry is a good idea?

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  • Itsabouttime

    Some of the shitheads on the Marion County political forum who oppose guns will have something slick to say about this. Stan Hanson likes to talk shit, make fun of Canadians, and pretend he is an expert. so lets see what that fucker has to say about this too.

  • tomfromocala

    You aren’t kidding @itsabouttime. I sent some screen shots to OP of the remarks made by Hanson. OP replied back, “There is a reason that not one elected official has refuted anything Ocala Post has published. The reason is that one cannot refute the truth. Those who are blind to the facts, will always be blind.” I was actually impressed that they did not put forth any personal attacks on him actually. I know I would have. Hope that they don’t get mad that I posted this.

  • john1967

    Don’t you know, they are “experts” on that forum. You have the mother of a POS woman beating felon who had his head blown off, and then a bunch of old farts who don’t know shit. I hope the house bill passes all 4 stages.

  • Shyanha

    I would have no issue with presenting my carry license if it gave me the right to open carry. That’s what Texas did to satisfy those who were uncomfortable with the probable cause caveat.

    Concealing as a woman is not an easy task. Purse carry is okay but I much prefer on body and unless I dress like a fella that can be challenging, especially in the summer. It’s also easier to remember to disarm if my pea shooter is on my body instead of in my purse.


    I am 100 percent for this bill…I have a concealed weapons permit and I am an avid target shooter. You do not have time to get your gun out of your purse or tucked in your belt loop, the bad guy always has his out and ready, I’m tired of shootings in gun free zones, why do you think they go there, because they know there is no one to stop them..crime will drop!!
    Excited. …

    • john1967

      Well said.

  • Big B

    I believe in open carry to a certain extent. I think that if you are allowed to open carry you must holster your weapon in a stage 2 holster. I also believe that there should be a way to identify you as a legal carrierFrom a far distance by a police officer. I’m sure that they can come up with a way to be able to do that so that as not to be putting themselves in danger

  • Cheryl

    I am very much in favor of this bill. Just as shootem stated. It is easier access to our gun, when adrenalin is pumping and we have to go up under a shirt or into a purse or between our breast to locate our gun, it takes valuable time. I also agree it would deter someone from possible using theirs if they see their are people around that have guns. Glad to see Florida is ahead of the game.

  • traceydbest

    the right to bear arms is my right why is there always such a debate and gun free zones this bill should of always been in effect hurry up already