TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The mass shooting in Arizona earlier this month in which six people were killed and U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded has sparked a nationwide debate on whether guns laws should be tightened, especially when it comes to automatic weapons.

But a Florida senator has proposed a loosening of the state’s gun laws in a bill which would allow gun owners with a permit to openly wear their handguns in public view.

Last December Senator Greg Evers, R-Crestview, filed Senate bill 234 which would make openly wearing firearms legal in Florida for the first time in decades, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Evers said not only would it be a crime deterrent but people who have concealed weapons permits would not be punished if their guns are accidentally exposed.

Currently 43 states have “open carry” laws which do play limitations on where a weapon can be worn; schools and such are off-limits, according to the website opencarry.org. Florida makes the list of seven states which prohibit “open carry” except in circumstances where the gun owner is going to directly to or from target shooting, hunting or camping excursions.

The Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has firmly opposed the bill. South Florida spokeswoman Dana Sanchez Quist said if the bill passes, legal firearms could easily be taken during robberies. The measure would also have a negative impact on tourism, according to Sanchez Quist because visitors may stay away from a state with a Wild West image.

Under Evers proposal any licensed gun owner over the age of 21 would be allowed to “open carry” their firearm, even on public university and college campuses. Supporters say if Virginia had such a law, maybe someone would have been able to shoot Seung-Hui who went on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in 2007, killing 32 people.

Florida is not the only state debating “open carry” legislation. Brian Malte, with the Brady Center, said Texas is also considering a bill that would allow it and in California, where there is no law on the books for or against it, a bill was introduced earlier this year to allow it.

Source: The Palm Beach Post

Comments (62)
  1. nolan says:

    How crudely intimidating, insecure and violent do you have to be to go about displaying a weapon.

    1. arescorpion says:

      Open carry sucks!!! But whenever are criminals killing everywhere I will keep my baby concealed for them. The right to carry a weapon for citizens is a deterrent to criminals, statistics make clear that almost all firearms incidents involve illegal ones. Why should I give up my rights ?

      1. Jeffrey says:

        Right on the money arescorpion!!!

    2. Michael Weatherly Jr says:

      Nolan… you’re a mouth breather. It’s a deterant and only 7 states don’t have it. I can’t wait to put mine on the outside of my shirt to deter any thug from trying to rob or assault me or anyone else. Everyone around me would be off the “victim” list because this strong, brave, and willing to shoot has an open carried gun.

      1. bill meyers says:

        Got my 1911 ready to open carry

    3. William says:

      How ignorant and sheepish do you have to be in order to type such a question?

      1. Briitany says:

        I mean are we all seriously arguing over this??? We have no control over any of them it’s as simple as that, yeah we have rules that were supposed to abide by but are they going to follow them? I mean honestly think about this, It’s not going to matter if they pass this law people are going to committ crimes the people who are mentally distranged aren’t going to think twice on wether or not its legal or illegal. I’m telling you right now as a high scool student I see more gang related violence… wether any of you like it or not we are a nation and we have to stand together against people like that, I want to be back in control of what should already be handled. We are United and if you don’t like it then leave, I love my country and I’m going to fight for it I’m not losing my Fiance ,Dad, and brother so some jackass can freely parade around a gun and shoot people to think he’s all high and mighty. Thanks but if thats the way its going to be then game on.

      2. Drew says:

        For me it is not so much about having the gun I carry in full view of everyone, but not having my gun viewed under my shirt due to a gust of wind, somehow my shirt is lifted or for any other reason that the gun is seen by someone who reports it to the police and not having to be arrested (I do have a Concealed Weapons Permit) for brandishing a weapon in public plus all the hassle of having to defend myself in court and the expense for an accidental viewing of the gun. You will never see my gun but if you do the person who it is pointed at will never see anything again.

    4. rick says:

      when the crimminal with robbery on his mind see’s me, and knows I am armed because he or she see’s my weapon, 97% of crimminals will move along to some one more easily robbable…say maybe you.

    5. Brandon says:

      How closed minded can you be? How about personal and family safety. If I choose to open carry instead of walking into a situation that I would not be able to get out of.. I now have a better chance of defusing the situation. That makes me a brut? Get real.

    6. Johnny says:

      I’m not against open carry or concealed carry, I think that we are now on the verge of a social and economic collapse and that people should start preparing themselves and their family’s for the eventual melt down – it’s already been demonstrated with the twin towers that were destroyed’ and we’re already heading into troubled waters as it is.

      Buy a gun………………………..

  2. Jodi says:

    This is the worst idea the senators and respresentatives have come up with yet for a bill. We have enough killing going on. One in every three people already have a gun or carry guns on them. Yes it would cause more accidents and scare more people. People hardly want to be outsides their homes or jobs anymore because it is too dangerous. Tallahassee needs smart brains up there not stupid ones. I will definitely advocate to make sure this bill does not pass and I have a lot of pull.

    1. Long Fellow says:

      You’ve got no pull Lady stop blowing smoke up your own skirt!

    2. Michael Weatherly Jr says:

      “I’m Jodi and I’m scared of my own shadow…” Just believe a 911 call will save you scardy cat. The police have a yellow tarp to cover your body when they finally get there. Why are you scared to go out of your home Jody? It’s because the criminals have illegal guns and know you are a great target. Just call me when you want to go to Wal-Mart or McDonalds and I’ll come protect you. 305-I’m- NOTSCARED.

    3. show me says:

      i have been carring a gun for15years because its my right and when bad people see a gun on anyones side in the open they will think twice because they wont know if i am a cop or not its not guns that kill people it people that kill people p.s.and i want to keep all my love one safe

  3. rbwfla says:

    NOT a good IDEAL!

  4. Long Fellow says:

    Do it!

  5. tired says:

    Sounds to me like we’re going to have alot more stolen firearms! Now the gang bangers will have “speciality squads” just to jack someones gun!

    1. Mike says:

      Yeah, this would be a mistake. Florida is RIGHT for it’s “shall issue” status. Criminals know there are many permit holders in this state. So it’s “roll the dice and take your chances.” You never know who’s holding. But knowing who’s holding invites trouble.

      1. Steve says:

        I have to agree and I am a CWP holder. I think they should revise the laws currently in place to protect me from prosecution if my weapon accidentally flashes rather than just make it an open carry.

      2. Allyn says:

        Your Both right… But what it seems everyone here is ignoring is that in fact it’s setup to protect those whom are legally carrying from being thrown on the ground by cops… You don’t have to display your weapon, IT’S A CHOICE…

    2. Dan says:

      Anti self defense people really annoy me with their uneducated comments. There is almost no history of gun grabs in open carry states. I am a responsible and trained gun owner, do you really want to see if you can grab my gun?

      1. spencer says:

        the people who make anti-gun comments are not uneducated.I would say miss-educated. what I mean is they have been indoctrinated into believing what has taught to them by left wing educators who ignore statistical information contrary to thier agendas.
        FBI statistics prove an increase of legal armed citizenry is decreasing violent crime at a rate of more than 40% .
        Florida laws which have allowed lisenced citizens more freedom has proven to result in a substacial reduction in violent crime.
        The self evident result is “criminals tend to develope nicer manners when an armed citizenry prevails”.

  6. Keys Treasures says:

    Now I will have to practice my Quick Draw!

  7. austin says:

    when florida proposed concealed carry there was going to be mayhem.
    when florida proposed castle rights, there was going to be wildwest.
    we propose open carry, there is wild west again?
    once again, criminals already carry.
    repeat after me, criminals already carry.

    1. Michael Weatherly Jr says:

      Amen Austin! 43 states that have open carry aren’t in the news with shoot outs on main street or gang bangers stealing guns. But us intelligent people do the research.

  8. Bill says:

    Open Carry does not mean a return to the “Wild,Wild West”with everyone wearing exterior holsters. But it removes the fear of being arrested if someone accidently sees my concealed handgun.

  9. DON old mtr.171 says:

    I favor concealed weapons, not in plain site. Remenber the element of suprise. Try me sucker your in for a glock (oops) i mean suprise !!!

    1. Michael Weatherly Jr says:

      then keep your hidden and let those who want open carry to have that option.

    2. Al Barrs says:

      Why would you want to “surprise” a crook? Better to deter them than surprise him or her with your firearm. Open carry is more effective in preventing crime. I don’t want to shoot anyone and rather discourage them before they move to rob or harm.

  10. philmiami says:

    I want open carry. I have concealed now but sometimes I want to be able to wear my .40 cal IWI Baby Desert Eagle (it just looks mean) and go to the grocery store or not have to look over my shoulder if I am at a ATM at night in downtown Miami.
    But then again, I like to keep my .32 in it’s holster that is a “wallet” (two holes, one for stability one for the trigger) and not display I am carrying anything. So we should have open carry, and I bet a lot of us who do have permits, won’t display our weapons all the time anyway.

  11. Skander says:

    I love how people are quick to say that it’s a bad idea…and then they find out that 43 !!!! yes 43 other states have open carry laws and you don’t hear about all that “gang banger” crap or “rise in stolen firearms”. So if you don’t do your homework before you raise your hand in a discussion…shut up and listen…you just might learn something ! And the states that have the highest level of crime are within the 7 that don’t have an open carry ! hmmmmmmmm…chew on that bone !

  12. Tony Montana says:

    Had to be proposed by a Republican hick from North Florida…

  13. George A says:

    I don’t like when off duty cops show off there guns,but I also don’t think someone with a permit should get arrested just because someone sees you have one. I’ve carried a gun for 30 years. I can tell you if a criminal sees your gun, you will be the first person he will take out. Carry responsibly and stay safe.

  14. FloridaGoldenGirl says:

    The Senator’s Right. CRIMINALS PREFER UNARMED VICTIMS We need the good guys to start packin’ heat also, moms, and grandmas, too. I’m a grandma and I’d prefer to shoot a bad guy to hitting him on the head with my purse.

  15. Lewis says:

    I want to be able to carry without worry of having my weapon seen, as mentioned. This law would allow me more options to carry a weapon with better accessibility, even though I would still carry concealed. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine why people think that gun laws (or any laws for that matter) deter criminals. If laws worked there wouldn’t be any crime, nor would there be any criminals!

  16. Bill says:

    Give me the option, open carry or concealed

  17. Bob Stinnette says:

    I believe this bill should have been passed years ago.Protect your loved ones and yourself.I protected our way of life for 23 years.US Army SSG RET.

  18. Florida Concealed Weapons says:

    In my experience as a police officer and tactically trained SWAT officer, I disagree with “open carry”.

    Most police officers shot in the line of duty are shot with their own guns even though they get special “weapon retention” training and are issued the latest in expensive and high-tech retention holsters. There are prison surveillance videos of inmates training each other and practicing disarming police officers.

    The average citizen – even one who has gone through a concealed weapons class – will not be able to defeat this kind of attack.

    Open carry will not prevent an attack in and off itself. Police officers are attacked and battered all the time when in uniform and while wearing a firearm and other weapons on their duty belts.

    That being said, concealed weapon permit holders should be able to carry anywhere they want – bars, schools, police stations, polling stations, school board meetings, and at work.

    One last thing…

    As a former homicide detective and SWAT team leader I have studied and trained for these types of “active shooter” incidents.

    Banning high-capacity magazines will do noting to stop these types of incidents. Most active shooters will simply bring more than one gun.

    There is a well know saying in the shooting world, “The fastest reload is another gun.” The shooters at Columbine, the shooter at the CA McDonald’s and at Virginia Tech, and a few other all had more than one gun.

    Banning high capacity magazines will do NOTHING but prevent law abiding citizens who have concealed weapons permits from fighting on a level playing field.

    People that know nothing about guns, crime, and life in the real world should not be passing laws that will get more innocent people killed.

    This is not 1950s Mayberry USA anymore.

    1. Mike says:

      this is the best comment so far any one who carrys should should get all the traing they can and should be out training every chance they get not just standing infront of a target punching hole but real life training. Dry fire at home drawing their gun, and having the right mind set if you have to use it. I have been there and its easy to sya what you will do but when and I hope you never have to you need to understand what takes place after you have to use a firearm to defend yourself. living through it is one thing living with it after it is another. Train and then train some more. be ready if needed but the best gun fight you have to be in is one you avoid. Keep the out of sight until you need it and know how to use it

    2. Steve says:

      Well Put!

  19. PackinDaddy says:

    Ok folks, This law is mainly going on the books to prevent licensed experienced people like myself from being wrongfully accused of brandishing a firearm when I bend down at wal-mart to pick up one of my small children. Now us EXPERIENCED PERMIT HOLDERS can relax a little when we take a look around at checkout and see all the Anti’s giving us “man with gun” looks because we’re slightly printing. On a side note, the only people who are going to remember this law when the nightly news is over are pro-protection people. You have to remember this one crucial thing, police and sheriff deputies are re-active, not pro-active. The come just minutes AFTER the crime happened, not minutes before to protect you from the bad guy. Nuff said. Jesus is King!

  20. Charles Paul Taffinder says:

    Turn the place into the wild west, that will save lives? Get one of those 21 clip automatics but, just don’t get caught in the cross fire! Where do we get these legislators?

  21. GARY says:


  22. Just an army guy says:

    Its pretty funny how no matter what you say, what proof you present to debunk there crap, the left wing nut jobs posting on here keep dont even skip a beat…

  23. Dennis says:

    I’ve carried open in NC back in the mid ’70’s mainly when riding my motorcycle. I’ve never had anyone attempt to rip off my side arm back then. Other drivers would notice and not attempt a game of chicken with a motorcyclist. Prior to that some car and truck drivers had no regard for a motorcyclist safety.

    Now I carry with my CCW hidden here in FL. Its ironic that in the ’70’s it was legal in NC to carry open but now in ’11 here in FL its illegal.

    Remember its only a CHOICE we’re getting here. With hot summers its hard to carry concealed with the minimal amount of clothing one wears. Its very easy to expose a side arm accidently and so easy to be brought up on charges depending on the LEO.

    To the liberals, its only a CHOICE! No one’s going to force you to carry a firearm if you don’t want to, at least not yet. Let those of us take persoanl resposibility in protecting our familes and ourselves along with those innocent around us..

    When I was 17 years old the US Army issued me a .45 cal pistol even though I was a Airborne Combat Medic. I wasn’t issued the pistol to kill the enemy but to protect my wounded patients.

  24. Alex says:

    I am a Georgia Firearms License holder. With my license, I am allowed to carry my firearm open or concealed. I choose open. When I carry open, I become a deterrent to crime. When I go into a convenience store, the clerks make small talk to try and keep me in the store as long as possible because while I am in there, they are less likely to get robbed. The only people who follow gun laws are law abiding citizens. Florida already has fairly strict policies for obtaining a license, therefore the places and manner in which law abiding citizens are allowed to carry a firearm should be less restrictive. Whether a person carries there firearm exposed or concealed does not increase violent crime, in fact it serves to lower. Look at the states and cities with the most restrictive gun laws, and you will see the states and cities with the highest violent crime rate.
    Most people don’t even take two looks at my gun when I’m open carrying.
    I am passionate about this issue, especially in Florida, because I plan on moving to Florida sometime in the not to distant future and when I do, I don’t want to sacrifice the defense of deterrence in the process.

  25. willie combs says:

    i to believe this to be true open carry would deter any criminal threat if i was a criminal i wouldnt want to mess with someone who was packing i agree with the open carry with or without permits and i believe it is a great crime preventative measure

  26. Kevin says:

    It would be nice to open-carry in Florida. In fact, this bill should allow you to open-carry even if you don’t have a CCW permit, you shouldn’t need a permit to exercise your Second Amendment right.

  27. Johnny says:

    I have carried open in Texas and Tennessee and I have never had a problem, Nor have I seen gun battles going on because of it, I have never heard of dun battled because of open carry.

    Some of my teachers at SJRSC in St. Augustine agree open carry on campus would be a good idea. One thing that most people do not know is that there is a state here that allows carry on campus look it up. I believe it is in utah.

    I am all for open carry and carry on campus.

  28. Tony says:

    Has anyone involved with this bill ever used Kennesaw, Georgia as an example? In 1982 that town made an ordinance allowing open carry without a permit legal within the town limits and in the first year the crime rate dropped 73% from 1981 and additional 43% in 1983 from 1982. It also has heads of households to own and maintain a working gun for protection whoever that part is unenforced as they understand that some people can’t afford guns or are against owning one. Everyone in that town feels safe and it didn’t become “the wild west” there. If the law works there, then why can’t it work here?

  29. Drew says:

    As a concealed permit holder I’m not interested in carrying my gun in the open. Neither as a concealed permit holder do I want to be arrested for some reason the gun becomes visible (my shirt gets lifts up or my jacket pulls back) even by accident. I will not ware the gun in the open ever (no one needs to know I have it on me) but I will feel a lot better knowing if for some reason it is seen I’m not going to jail either!!!

  30. Chris says:

    Let me start off by saying I believe it is our right to open carry. That being said, It’s scary to see how many people on here have said they want to be able to “Open Carry” for intimidation. First of all you shouldn’t be carrying any weapon/tool to intimidate people! Carrying a firearm comes with a great deal of responsibility, and carrying it openly is going to draw even more attention to you. You should always be aware or your environment and the people around you. I have been a concealed weapons permit holder for quite some time and can say that I will not be carrying my firearm openly. I would personally prefer the element of surprise should I ever have to use it, and I pray that day never comes. It would however be nice to know that if for whatever reason someone caught a glimpse of my gun (Has never happened by the way), I wouldn’t be arrested for “Brandishing a firearm”. If you have a concealed weapons permit you shouldn’t have to worry about bending over to pick something up, or the wind blowing your jacket open.

  31. Junior says:

    I wouldn’t want to surprise my “assailant”, I would want to protect myself and the quicker the draw, the quicker I would be able to protect myself and my family. I’m a ccw holder and I’m all for the open carry bill. Watch the criminals move to another state once this bill become law

  32. mcsecurityforce says:

    OOH RAHH. Hurry up and pass this bill please.

  33. Kevin says:

    It would be nice to open-carry here in Florida, especially with the weather being too hot and humid for concealed carry.

  34. Alex G says:

    I feel like many of you CCW Law Abiding Citizens and it should be our right to choose if we open carry or conceal the Firearm. I also disagree with those who say we are or would be scaring the general public, and to the police officer with all due respect Sir I too am a protector of the good people in South Florida and feel we as L.A.C should not fear for those who call the law for seeing the print or the wind blows hard and an honest person has to go through the legal process to defend his rights!!! Florida is 1 of 7 states that do not allow the open carry, and I for 1 feel we should just pass it already. “The 2nd Amendment was put in place by the Framers and we as Americans should be able to exercise our rights. GOD BLESS AMERICA…..

  35. Cptdenny says:

    To the Swat Officer. No ones saying one must carry open. It’s a CHOICE and choice is good. If you’re afraid to carry open then don’t. Or you can carry a “Dummy” unloaded firearm openly but have a loaded firearm concealed as a back up.

    Why isn’t this a problem in every other state which are the majority in allowing open carry?

    Of course police don’t want this passed. Anything that can be a deterrent to crime by a cilvilian can cause crime to drop, meaning less LEO’s are needed.

    The “ELEMENT OF SURPRISE” is often mentioned as a reason to carry concealed. If you’re relying on this you’re already in deep “kimchee”. Carrying exposed is a visual deterrent as a first line of defense, not one’s last.

  36. ltc william roth says:

    Its simple folks. Let you state issue you a ID to wear with a official looking
    badge on the face to wear near your gun.. The idea is to show you are not a croak looking tto rob someone.. As soon as the word comes out the liberals
    will sleep better at night.

  37. R C Bbacock says:

    An honst man has no problems with an honest gun — only those who are dishonest will be afread to to do the right thing — regardless open or concealed — need my 44 needs my hip not my gun safe

  38. IronHorse56 says:

    I am a former reserve deputy sheriff. My father is a retired deputy sheriff. My brother is an active duty deputy sheriff. Most of my friends are active and/or retired law enforcement officers. So then,speaking from experience I can say that concealed carry permit holders know well,the chance that they take of weapon exposure in public. Brandishing a firearm does not necessarily mean waving an unholstered weapon in plain view of the public. Simply viewing a firearm,holstered or unholstered ,concealed or open carry,will cause ANY officer responding to “draw down” on the person in question,simply from the aspect of officer safety. IS open carry a deterrent?. Yes. But it is also a two edged sword. Where criminals are concerned,the mere sight of a weapon pointed at them could be enough to spark a firefight,especially in the case of certain highly dangerous and deadly street gangs. Folks, the Concealed weapons laws,castle laws,and,stand your ground laws are on the books for one reason and one reason ONLY, to protect you and your family or friends while in your own home or on your own property. It is as simple as that. Finally,let me say that I am a life member of the NRA and I fully support the 2nd amendment,to the extent that the amendment designates the rights of the people to bear arms AS A WELL TRAINED MILITIA…( i.e. Colonial military guard). Nowhere does it state any other rights or priviledges otherwise.

  39. Adam Austin says:

    Those speaking against open carry aren’t doing so because they’re afraid of guns. They’re doing it because they are the very people who want to take your rights away. Don’t be so gullible, they walk among us every day. An enemy at the gates is less formidable than those who pretend to be us. SubvertedNation/net

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