A measure that would reduce the penalty for people who briefly display a firearm in public and make it a non-criminal offense has been filed in the House.
The proposal (HB 779), filed Friday by Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, is identical to a bill (SB 646) filed by Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. Steube recently turned an omnibus gun measure (SB 140) into a series of bills.
Combee said his proposal would apply to people with concealed-weapons licenses. The proposal would change what is currently a second-degree misdemeanor charge — carrying a fine up to $500 and 60 days in jail — into a $25 noncriminal violation that can be paid to a county clerk of the court.
The proposal also would allow members of the state Cabinet — the attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner — to carry concealed weapons when unaccompanied by full-time Florida Department of Law Enforcement security.
As with the majority of other stand-alone gun-related measures by Steube, the proposal has yet to be scheduled to appear before a House or Senate committee.
On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Steube filed nine bills tied to gun ownership rights after telling reporters of his plan to separate the broader bill.
"Just from feeling the tea leaves, it's probably better to attack it piece by piece," Steube said at the time.
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence has called Steube's "flurry" of bills "dangerous."
Separately, Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, on Monday filed his own measure (SB 908) that would allow the 1.7 million concealed weapons permit-holders in Florida to carry at the state's 15 seaports. The proposal also would delete provisions in state law that bar carrying concealed weapons at police and sheriff's stations, jails, courthouses, polling places, colleges, professional sporting events and establishments where alcohol is sold for consumption on site. The measure also would delete a provision that prohibits people from carrying firearms in places prohibited by federal law.
Baxley also filed a pair of measures (SB 912 and SJR 910) on Monday that would ask voters in November 2018 or in an earlier special election to amend the state Constitution to exempt law enforcement officers and “qualified” retired officers from having to wait three days to purchase handguns.