In 2015, there were 105 million visitors, which translates to 5.2 Billion Dollars in state tax revenue if spending still averaged the same for each person.
Folks, we are talking BIG Tourist Bucks!
Photo by Pat Williams
When Florida Governor Rick Scott said he would sign a bill legalizing the open carry of holstered pistols by licensed-to-carry citizens, he surely had those dollar signs in his eyes making sure there would never be a bill to sign.
How do I know this? Virtually every bill he has wanted passed, the Governor has worked with the Florida Legislature to get it done, or at least strongly signaled to them to get it done.
Time after time, open carry bills have failed in Senate committees - at the hands of Diaz de la Portilla (backed up by Senate President Andy Gardiner) in 2016, and Sen. Anitere Flores (backed up so far by Senate President Joe Negron) this year, and others in prior years, and the Governor has never opened his mouth and made one peep about it.
Not one single word that I've seen anywhere. Why?
Too many other things on his mind to focus just a little time on repairing the damage done in 1987?
To him, things are going as planned. I believe he has either explicitly told Senate leadership to keep those bills off his desk, or he has subtly signaled it by other means, at least by his silence and contentment at what has been happening year after year.
To the Governor, our Second Amendment Rights are NOT A PRIORITY, or he would have said something, anything about the pro-liberty gun carry bills being continually shot down in the Senate.
For some reason, the vast majority of Senate Republicans in Florida seem to feel the same way. Patriot Senator Greg Steube is certainly an exception, and maybe a small handful of others, if that.
This majority of Republicans proclaim their love of liberty, but in reality too much liberty gives them a stomach ache. Their appetite for liberty goes only so far, and no more.
Even now with a U.S. President who promised, "No more gun-free zones", they STILL can't muster the courage to restore the Second Amendment Right of open carry, even for vetted and licensed-to-carry citizens!
Think about it - were most guns so small as to be easily concealable when the Second Amendment was written, especially with the outfits that were worn then? At that time it was considered sneaky to only carry concealed firearms.
The Founding Fathers understood "bear arms" to obviously mean primarily out in the open. And although Federal Courts have ruled there is no Second Amendment Right to carry concealed firearms, they have ruled that the right applies to openly carried arms.
Although I disagree that concealed firearms do not enjoy Second Amendment protections, at least the courts have understood that open carry is a manner of carry clearly under the protection of the Second Amendment.
However, the Florida Supreme Court disagrees! Let's hope the U.S. Supreme Court slaps that ill-informed decision down. But that could take years, unfortunately.
Janet Reno orchestrated the open carry ban in 1987 in Florida. Why are these Republicans who give us lip service about Second Amendment Rights so enamored with her legacy? She's dead now, and it's high time her infringement legacy died as well.
We might not get open carry this year, but until we do, we can put a thumb in the eye of backstabbing politicians by using our First Amendment Rights to peacefully show we are lawfully armed with a firearm in public, even though we have to cover the hardware itself with a piece of cloth.
Does anyone with a modicum of common sense believe that tourists will avoid Florida if open carry is legalized, only to go to 45 other states where open carry is legal now?