House passes guns at church measure

(George Frey/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that could lead to more people with concealed-weapons licenses carrying guns on the grounds of churches or other religious institutions.

Current law generally allows people with the licenses to have guns at religious institutions. But it also bars most people from having guns at schools. That has prevented people from carrying guns when churches and schools use the same property.

The bill (HB 403), sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, would allow churches or other religious institutions to authorize people to carry guns for purposes such as security and personal protection.

The House voted 79-35 to approve the bill.

A Senate version (SB 1238) has passed one committee but has not been heard by two other panels with little more than a week left in the legislative session.