Senator Diaz de la Portilla has been the main obstacle to restoring some open carry rights to Florida. He refused to let a bill out of committee in 2015. The bill has been reintroduced in 2016. Now that the bill has overwhelmingly passed the house, he has become more vocal with his threats. From cbslocal.com:
Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said on Monday that he had grown uneasy with the proposal. The House passed its version of the bill last week after adding an amendment that would allow state lawmakers to carry sidearms into legislative meetings.Portilla seems to be throwing excuses against the wall to see if any of them will stick. The last one was that he was afraid that people exercising their Second Amendment rights would scare tourists. It is hard for that one to be credible, when 45 other states have the same or more freedom to exercise Second Amendment rights.
“I am concerned that it may become a vehicle for some very, very bad amendments. I think that’s what we learned last week,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “Because of those concerns, I’m very, very seriously considering not hearing it at all.”
The House voted 80 to 38 to pass the open carry reform. The Senate seems to have majority support for the bill, if it would get out of the Judiciary committee that Portilla controls.
45 states have open carry of holstered handguns. 30 of those states do not require a license to carry. The mild reform that Senator Portilla is holding up requires a license for open carry in Florida. A case before the Florida Supreme Court argues that the lack of the ability to legally open carry, with or without a license, violates the Second Amendment.
Florida had open carry until 1987, when the shall issue concealed carry bill was passed. The shall issue bill has been wildly successful, with 1.5 million people having permits. Their crime rate is a small fraction of that of police. From yourobserver.com:
Consider, too, these facts, courtesy of Rep. Steube: “After 28 years of data in Florida, licensed conceal-permit holders are six times less likely to commit a crime than law enforcement officers. Specifically, permit holders only commit misdemeanors and felonies at a rate of .0002% annually.”
Janet Reno, known for her role in the Waco massacre, was State Attorney for Date County at the time. Miami is essentially Dade County. She created a government led coalition to lobby for an open carry ban. She was able to have the ban passed in a special session without going through the usual committee or public vetting processes. It has been in place ever since, though there have been several attempts at reform.
It is not surprising that another Miami politician is blocking the reform now. The surprise is that he is a Republican.
If open carry dies in 2016, this will be the second year that Senator Portillo has been instrumental in killing it. Some credit should be given to the Republican Senate leadership, who assigned the bill to his committee.
Senator Portilla's email can be found here.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch