ORLANDO, FLORIDA — “A person licensed to carry a concealed firearm or weapon pursuant to this chapter may openly carry such firearm or weapon,” reads an amended lines recently submitted in a bill to the Florida House of Representatives.
If Republican House member Matt Gaetz has his way, Florida concealed carriers may just be the first class of citizens allowed to openly carry firearms — an issue oft debated within the Sunshine State but not clearly illustrated in law.
According to WFTV, Gaetz also added a five page addendum which would serve as a warning to members of the judiciary branch that the issue of gun rights in Florida is not something to be tread upon.
“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,” reads an excerpt released through WFTV.
While Gaetz is in the House, his father sits in the Florida Senate and signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill. It’s certainly a bold move to recognize that legally-armed individuals provide an added service to the community by being armed. If criminals are the only ones allowed to walk around brandishing firearms — that sends the wrong message to Floridians.
This bill still has a long way to go before it reaches the governor’s desk and it is expected to be tersely debated on both the floors of the House and Senate. In the end, the language may change drastically between submittal and enactment but it all serves (hopefully) to expand the rights of concealed carriers in Florida.