That was a month ago, so what has happened since? According to Jon Gutmacher, lawyer, blogger and author of the definitive handbook on Florida gun laws, one important and two "decent to have" laws have cleared big hurdles. The most important one has passed and now goes to the Governor to sign into law.
The biggest is the bill that restores "innocent until proven guilty" for people involved in the personal hell of a self-defense shooting. According to Gutmacher:
HB 245 [Sponsors: Rep. Bobby Payne and Jason Fischer] – This bill provides that the State has the burden of proof by “clear and convincing” evidence in any pretrial self defense immunity hearing. .............. The House substituted and passed the Senate Bill SB 128, and I believe this is renumbered as HJ 579 (?) which uses the “beyond every reasonable doubt” standard. That was passed by the Senate before, so the bill now goes to the Governor for signature.Counselor Gutmacher goes on to call it a "BIG, BIG VICTORY." It appears to have been the intent of the legislature all along, but as we all know, prosecutors virtually always reinterpret laws in whatever ways they think will get them elected (cough...Angela Corey ... cough) and there are apparently many jurisdictions in Florida where defending yourself puts you in the rare "guilty until proven innocent" condition. Making prosecutors prove "beyond every reasonable doubt" that the shooter's intent was to murder rather than to prevent their own murder should fix that.
Along similar lines, a couple of years ago, the State passed laws protecting Concealed Weapons License holders from criminal harassment if they should inadvertently expose their firearm in public. Prosecutors have notoriously attacked perfectly innocent people (no victim, no crime) costing them great amounts of money and time. Quoting Gutmacher again:
HB 779 [Sponsor: Rep. Neil Combee] – This bill eliminates any criminal penalty for open carry, and makes any violation a non-criminal civil infraction payable by a $25.00 fine. It further removes any criminal penalty or the arrest of a CWL holder who temporarily openly carries or displays a firearm. It further allows any member of the Florida cabinet with a CWL to carry anywhere not prohibited by Federal law. It makes violation of any of the prohibitions in 790.06 by a CWL holder a noncriminal civil infraction with a fine of $25.00. ............. PassedYes, it's a runner up bill. Yes, it sucks compared to the annual open carry effort that the Miami turncoat scuttled, as have other Miami turncoats before her, but it's hopefully better than the situation we have.
Finally, a bill that probably sounds scarier than most to the Demanding Mommies (who am I kidding? they're afraid of them all), a bill that makes it legal for CWL holders to carry on public school property when the school is not in session and nothing is going on there. It makes it legal to carry in private schools and church schools, many of whom are friendly to carrying to start.
HB 849 [Sponsor: Rep. Neil Combee] – This bill removes the prohibitions for CWL carry at private schools and church schools. It also reduces any prohibitions and penalties for carry at a public school by a CWL to those set forth in section 790.06 (CWL section) of the Florida Statutes, except for unlawful discharge of a firearm on school property. It further removes the penalty for legal CWL carry on public school grounds when school is neither in session nor are there any school sanctioned events taking place. ................ Passed.But... Skools! Childrens!! We all know that when anti-gun groups count "school shootings" they include a 2AM shootout between two 20-something drug dealers that happens to cross a school parking lot; this law differentiates (public) school property as not a gun free zone when school isn't in session. Again, it's a "Miss Congeniality" bill, a poor compromise to the real campus carry bills that get talked about every year, but I reiterate, hopefully better than the situation we have. Disclaimer: if you were ever voted Miss Congeniality in a beauty contest, don't take this as an insult.