Airport Open Carry, Secretary Of State Bills Progress
Two much-talked-about bills in the Senate are moving forward, but may be threatened in the House.
A bill to allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns into an airport terminal passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday morning.
The concealed carry bill, sponsored by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R- New Port Richey, would only apply to the non-secure side of the airport. It would not allow those planning to get on a flight to carry a weapon.
The Florida Airports Council opposed the bill, but Sen. Simpson said Florida puts itself at risk of an attack if it remains one of only nine states where people are not allowed to carry a gun in airport terminals.
"If I knew that there were concealed carry holders in the non-sterile side of the airport, I would be less likely to commit a crime," Simpson said.
A spokesman for St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport said the organization was joining with the Florida Airports Council in opposition to the bill. Officials with Tampa International Airport declined comment.
Over in the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, a resolution to turn the appointed Secretary of State position into an elected office was pushed through with very little debate. The proposal would also make an elected Secretary of State a member of the Governor's Cabinet.
Both pieces of legislation, however, have House companion bills that are stagnate.
The airport concealed carry House bill, proposed by Rep. Jake Rabur, R-Lithia, was not heard by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, which had its last meeting two weeks ago. The Secretary of State resolution has not yet had a vote in the House Government Operations Subcommittee.