Florida Bill Would Provide Storage For Concealed Carry Firearms At Courthouses

If you’re like a lot of people, going to the courthouse is a pain in the rear. It’s worse when you’re carrying a concealed firearm. After all, guns are forbidden in courthouses pretty much everywhere I can think of. That means you have to either leave the gun at home, or leave it in your car and hope no one breaks into it while you’re inside.

Not a pleasant place to be.

However, in Florida, there might be a slight bit of relief in sight.

A measure that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to store firearms with security officers at courthouses was filed Monday in the state House for the 2018 Legislative Session.

The proposal (HB 383) by Rep. Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican, is identical to a measure (SB 134) filed in August by Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican.

It’s probably not a good idea for Florida residents to get too excited though. The Senate measure died a horrible, fiery death when voted on in the House, so unless something has changed behind the scenes, this one isn’t likely to go anywhere.

However, it should.

As Dean Weingarten notes at Gun Watch:

The problem with creating “gun free zones” is that it creates serious obstacles for people who wish to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Court houses are particularly problematic. The state may require you to enter them, and require you to leave your personal protective weapons outside. Guns are often stolen from parked vehicles, and courthouse parking lots are a concentrator for criminals.

On the issue of fundamental rights, legislatures are expected to create law that is minimally  disruptive of exercise of the right. In Arizona, we require public buildings that ban the carry of firearms to provide for safe storage of the firearms while the person is disarmed. Mostly, the government entities use lockboxes.

In our government of checks and balances, the three branches of government have limited power over each other. The power of the legislature and executive branch to order the courts to do things in the courthouse is limited.

Requiring the courts to reasonably accommodate the exercise of a fundamental right, such as the right to keep and bear arms, falls within that power.

I can’t say that I disagree.

The truth of the matter is that our rights are clear. We have the right to carry a firearm, and while I disagree about private, law-abiding citizens being disarmed in courthouses, I understand the concerns. If those laws are going to be in place, it seems more than reasonable that accommodations be made for the safe storage of those firearms during our time in the courthouse.

Frankly, the members of the Florida legislature should take a step back and recognize that this is hardly the most horrible thing that could be suggested. After all, if someone wants to shoot up a courthouse, no law on Earth is going to stop them. At least by providing storage for permit holders, they’re treating the law-abiding gun owners like they’re law-abiding and not some maniac waiting to snap.

Dec 02, 2021 7:30 PM ET