With the recent stopping of several pro-firearms rights Bills in the Florida legislature, Sen. Steube filed a bill today (12/12/17), SB 1242, which is identical to Rep. Fant’s HB 739 which was filed back on 11/117/2017. The Senate website describes SB 1242 as “Carrying of Weapons and Firearms: Providing that specified provisions relating to the carrying of weapons and firearms do not apply to persons engaged in, traveling to, or returning from certain outdoor activities or traveling to or returning from certain motor vehicles, residences, shelters, and other places, etc.”.
These matching Bills attempt to list quite a few new activities that would allow a person to either open carry or concealed carry while participating in, or going to or from these activities. These would create a new set of activities where a person could lawfully possess a firearm without having to have a concealed weapons permit. The list is mostly outdoor activities that a vast majority of Floridians do now, only this would allow you to lawfully possess and carry a firearm for self-defense while participating in any of the listed activities.
Here are the activities that are listed in the Bill:
(i) A person engaged in, traveling to, or returning from a lawful outdoor expedition or activity, including, but not limited to:
- Crabbing, gigging, cast netting, lobstering, or any other fishing activity;
- Hiking, trekking, backpacking, cross-country running, geocaching, or any other orienteering activity;
- Trapping, falconry, or any other hunting activity;
- Bicycling, mountain biking, trail riding, or any other cycling activity;
- All-terrain vehicle, dirt bike, four-wheeler, or any other off-road vehicle riding activity;
- Boating, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or any other maritime activity;
- Dog walking, animal training, mushing, or any other outdoor animal exercising activity;
- Speleology, spelunking, or any other caving activity;
- Horseback riding or any other equestrian activity;
- Rock climbing, rappelling, or any other mountaineering activity;
- Nature photography, bird watching, astronomy, or any other outdoor viewing activity; and
- Picnicking, mushroom hunting, berry picking, metal detecting, fossil hunting, or any other outdoor recreational, training, scientific, or athletic activity;
(j) A person traveling to or returning from a motor vehicle; a residence, dwelling, apartment, condominium, townhouse, lodge, cabin, motor home, mobile home, recreational vehicle, hotel, motel, or any other place of residence or shelter; or any other place at which a firearm or weapon may be lawfully possessed;
Now as you can see that is quite a list. Notice the very carefully worded “but not limited to;” in the first sentence. Thereby laying the groundwork for what could be interpreted as say that any outdoor activity would be permissible under this Bill if it became law.
And under (j) these Bills try to eliminate the omission in current law that technically makes it illegal to take your firearm from your lawfully carried location in your car to your apartment (residence). Currently, you may possess a firearm in your home any way you wish, and you may have a firearm in your vehicle lawfully also without a permit, but to get it to your vehicle and from your vehicle if the vehicle is on a common property area has been looked at being illegal by some. This subsection addition would prevent that from being a problem any longer.
Yes if you read the Bills and look at the activities and see the common terms “or any other …. Activity” whether it be fishing, hunting, orienteering, hunting, cycling, off-roading, maritime, animal exercising, caving, equestrian, mountaineering, outdoor viewing, and last but not least – outdoor recreational, training, scientific, or athletic activity, you could legally possess and carry a firearm without a license while going to, taking part in, and going home from any of those, the last one being quite a catch all of the activities.
If you think this is a long list, you would be right. If you think this list should not be needed, you are right, we should be allowed regardless of this list (but currently are not), if you think this list basically makes it OK to carry doing basically any outdoor activity, you would be right. So what is wrong with this Bill? NOTHING! It is an attempt to show the Florida Legislators just how silly restricting the lawful carry of firearms is to a “list” of “allowed” activities. And if passed would be a HUGE step in the right direction. Remember a little at a time is better than nothing at all.
I personally wholeheartedly support this Bill, and it’s not so subtle message and intentions. Floridians should not be restricted as to what action they should have to be doing to be able to protect themselves and their families. But if they are going to make us follow a list, let’s make it a good list! Like this one!
So please when the Bills are assigned to committees for hearings, take the time to send emails, write letters and call your Senators and eventually your Representatives and tell them you support this Bill and what it stands for! I will post more on this as things develop.
You can read the Bills at:
HB 739 – http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=61039&
SB 1242 – http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=62020&