Florida gun bills now on life support

Proposals would have authorized more weapons around students


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This year may not be shaping up to be the year for high-profile gun laws in Florida after all. Two proposals that would have authorized more weapons around students are now on life support.

One other high-profile gun bill is already on the governor's desk. The bill would allow Floridians to carry a concealed weapon during an emergency evacuation for 48 hours even if they don't have a concealed-carry license.

Early on in the session, there didn't seem to be a problem with moving two gun bills through the Capitol.

A proposal that would allow certain school employees to carry a gun and the guns on campus bill -- allowing permitted students to carry a concealed weapon -- sailed through the House. But now both are being held up in the Senate.

"Obviously it's ready to be heard on the floor of the House," said Rep. Greg Steube, House sponsor of both bills. "I would certainly like it to be heard on the floor of the House, but at the same time there's no sense in spending the floor time debating an issue like that if it's going to go to the Senate, and pursuant to their rules, go right to the committee that it's currently stalled in."

Gun advocates are blaming a lack of action on the Senate president.

Florida State Students for Concealed Carry President Erek Culbreath said Senate President Andy Gardiner blocked the bills.

"I'm really disappointed," Culbreath said. "We got a situation where a lot of shootings have been going on in schools and campuses around the state and around the country, and you had two good pro-gun bills that gave people an opportunity to defend themselves. Both were killed by a Republican Senate."

Gardiner responded on his Facebook page. He endorsed the Second Amendment and pointed out that the National Rifle Association has consistently given him high marks. He said it's up to committee chairs, not him, to hear the bills.

Nobody's ready to admit defeat.

An amendment could get both bills to the Senate floor.