• Florida lawmaker pushes for open carry in Florida


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida lawmaker recently filed a bill that would allow anyone with a concealed-weapons permit to also carry that weapon in the open.

    The five-page bill filed by Republican House member Matt Gaetz adds a fundamental warning to judges who might find themselves reviewing state gun law.

    If passed, that section of the state statutes would open by saying, "The judiciary shall employ strict scrutiny in reviewing any statute that implicates the right to bear arms…subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions."

    In other words, Gaetz wants judges to know they'd better have a good reason for siding against gun rights.

    But his plan for open carry is limited and by no means a free pass.

    He proposes "a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm or weapon pursuant to this chapter may openly carry such firearm or weapon."

    That means even if the legislature passes Gaetz's bill as written, you'll still have to jump through hoops to carry a gun out in the open.

    The bill goes on to propose legally recognizing "…that the possession and carrying of weapons and firearms by law-abiding individuals for lawful purposes, including self-defense, enhances public safety."

    The question is, will people support it? It's a touchy topic that no one wanted to talk about on camera.

    Some said off-camera that open carry is exactly what Florida needs in the dangerous times we live in. But some gun supporters said they're worried open carry would become a liability that attracts the kind of people who don't need to be armed in the first place.

    Gaetz's father serves in the Florida Senate. On Wednesday, he signed on as a co-sponsor for his son's House bill.

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