A powerful anti-gun Miami Republican has used his power as the chairman of a powerful Senate committee to singlehandedly crush the possibility of handgun open carry in Florida.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla said Tuesday evening a proposal allowing 1.5 million people with concealed weapons permits in Florida to openly carry handguns is officially dead for the 2016 session.
“Open carry is not going to happen; it’s done,” the Miami Republican senator told reporters.
Diaz de la Portilla had expressed growing reluctance for weeks about holding a hearing on SB 300, saying last week it was “on life support.”
It’s among three gun bills he’s killing this session by not granting them hearings in his committee, a powerful prerogative that committee chairman have.
Last month, Diaz de la Portilla said he wouldn’t hear a similarly controversial bill that would allow concealed-weapons permit-holders to carry concealed on public college and university campuses. Also Tuesday, he said he won’t hear a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried in Florida airport terminals. (It passed its first committee earlier in the day but it won’t be heard in the House, so it was essentially dead anyway.)
“On all of these gun bills, I don’t believe any of them are necessary,” Diaz de la Portilla said. “They could result in unintended consequences. I think we need to prioritize in our committee, as far as what we hear. We can’t hear every bill that’s referred to us.”
The open carry bill would have allowed citizens with concealed carry permits the option to open carry their holstered handguns and provide them legal protections if a concealed weapon was accidentally exposed.