Do you know why Florida's Open Carry (SB 300) and Campus Carry (SB 68) bills have been stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee since last October?
It's because Senate Judiciary Chairman, Republican Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla does not want them to be voted on by the open Senate. His boss, Senate President Andy Gardiner is in agreement with him, and refuses to let the bills out of jail.
Let's look at Portilla's admitted reason he does not like the Open Carry bill:
"It's not looking really good for open carry unless some agreement surfaces that provides for some safeguards that you don't have a Wild Wild West situation with people walking down the streets of, say Miracle Mile or International Dive or Brickell, like they are walking to the O.K. Corral," said Diaz de la Portilla. (underline and italics mine)
Folks, "Wild Wild West" and "O.K. Corral" in the context of people walking down the street is Democrat code for OPEN CARRY! Just say those phrases to a Democrat sometime, and watch him drool like you just rang the bell for Pavlov's dog.
Sen. Portilla doesn't like the Open Carry bill because it would allow people to openly carry their holstered pistols in plain sight. He believes it will scare people and hurt Florida tourism. Bull-Cow!
Tourism Excuse Debunked
Do any of those tourists visiting Florida come from 45 other states that have open carry as an option for legal carriers of firearms? If so, they've already seen it! Are they going to flock to Canada when seeking warm beaches if Florida legalizes open carry of pistols for those who hold a carry license?
Open Carry has always been legal in Georgia, and we have plenty of tourists from Japan, India, China, Africa, Germany, France, Britain, etc coming to various concerts, festivals, fairs, and other events in public parks and other public venues where citizens can legally carry holstered firearms openly. It hasn't seemed to have hurt us in the tourism-dollar pocketbook.
One very popular tourist spot in Georgia is Stone Mountain Park. I've openly carried my holstered pistol there dozens of times (including twice at their huge July 4th celebration) as people from many varied nationalities walked right by me without crying out in fear, running away, calling the police, or grabbing one of the police officers that patrols the park. The crowd seems to get greater each year, so what does that tell you?
Lives More Precious Than Dollars
But even if open carry did somehow present a minuscule risk to tourism, does not Sen. Portilla know that being able to deter crime and save lives is more important than tourism dollars? And wouldn't less crime help tourism?
Perhaps Republican Sen. Portilla enjoys too much support from Miami Democrats? If so, then he knows where his bread is buttered, it would surely seem.
Talk Is Cheap
So what possible "agreement" coming to the surface would make Sen. Portilla happy? Why, an amendment that would strip open carry out of the open carry bill, of course! That's exactly what Representative Dave Kerner, a Democrat, tried with the House's version of Open Carry, HB 163, with his failed Committee Substitute 2, amendment number 354865.
Sen. Portilla has talked the talk when it comes to supporting the Second Amendment, but he has not walked the walk. With Open Carry and Campus Carry, both Portilla and Gardiner are Republicans acting like impudent Democrats who typically do what they can to block pro-freedom, self-defense bills that restore to citizens the rights that belong to them.
If SB 68 and SB 300 die in committee, it is my sincere hope that Senators Portilla and Gardiner never, ever utter another word about supporting the Second Amendment.
True Leadership Needed
What is needed now is true leadership from Governor Rick Scott. He has stated in the past that he would sign an open carry bill if it reached his desk. However, he is now silent and dodging the issue with the current Open Carry bills in the House and Senate. He is refusing to take a public stand on either Open Carry or Campus Carry.
What is with this laissez faire attitude exhibited by the Governor with regard to citizens having the option to openly carry firearms for their self-protection, and to carry concealed on a college campus for the same purpose?
If you support these bills, call and write the Governor to ask him to publicly urge that they be released from captivity in the Judiciary Committee and receive an honest and open vote by the full Senate.