May 10, 2017 — As the 2017 Florida legislative session ends, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the following statement today:
Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans For Responsible Solutions:
“What happened in Florida this legislative session is evidence that positive results can be achieved when concerned citizens come together and demand that their lawmakers take action to protect our communities. In the aftermath of the tragic mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, we worked with advocates across the state to defeat a dangerous gun lobby-backed proposal that would have allowed people to openly carry guns in airports, courthouses, and even schools. Thousands of gun safety supporters from across the state took action and urged their lawmakers to listen to Florida’s law enforcement experts and reject this irresponsible bill.
“Despite this major victory for public safety, there is still so much more that must be done to protect Floridians and make our communities safer. Floridians should be outraged that their state legislature passed a dangerous new bill that makes it more difficult to prosecute “stand your ground” cases and makes it easier for people to shoot first and ask questions later. Make no mistake, by passing this bill Florida’s lawmakers put the interests of the gun lobby ahead of Floridians safety.
“In the coming year, Americans for Responsible Solutions looks forward to making Florida a safer place by protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”
ABOUT SB 140
Senate Bill 140, a dangerous “guns everywhere” bill would make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs, and make our communities less safe. The bill would:
- Allow Individuals To Openly Carry Loaded Firearms. The bill would allow people with Florida concealed carry licenses to openly carry handguns in the same places they can currently carry concealed handguns.
- Allow Individuals To Openly Carry Loaded Firearms In Schools And College Campuses. The bill would eliminate most of Florida’s restrictions on guns in schools, and allow concealed carry license-holders to carry open or concealed handguns at K-12 schools and administration buildings, and at college or university facilities. (Most states with “guns in schools” laws allow only concealed carry – not open carry.)
- Eliminate Existing Protections Against Guns In Sensitive Areas. The bill would eliminate certain sensitive area restrictions where it was previously unlawful for licensees to carry concealed firearms. Additional locations where it would become legal to open carry handguns include the “passenger terminal” of airports, career centers, and courthouses.
ABOUT STAND YOUR GROUND EXPANSION, SB 128
The bill, SB 128, would expand Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, making it harder to prosecute stand your ground cases. The bill would:
- Shift The Burden Of Proof, Making It Harder To Prosecute Stand Your Ground Cases. Require the burden of proof to be on the prosecution to overcome immunity for a stand your ground claim. Currently, the burden for making the case in favor of a stand your ground claim falls to the defense.
ABOUT FLORIDA’S GUN LAWS
Florida has some of the worst gun laws in the nation, regularly scoring an F in the Law Center’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard. It fails to require background checks for private sales, does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license, has incredibly weak standards for allowing people to carry concealed guns in public, and even bars doctors from speaking about firearm safety with their patients. Learn more about gun laws in Florida at smartgunlaws.org/FL.