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TALLAHASSEE (NSF) – The Senate likely will not move forward with a controversial measure that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on the campuses of Florida colleges and universities.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, said Thursday he doesn’t plan to have the proposal (SB 176) go before his committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
“I’ve polled the members of the Senate, and there doesn’t seem to be too much support for that bill,” said Diaz de la Portilla, whose office has been getting calls from Second Amendment advocates about the measure.
The bill, which has cleared two committees, would need to get through the Judiciary and Rules committees to reach the Senate floor. A House version (HB 4005) is ready to go to the House floor after clearing three committees.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said he was unaware of the latest development from the Senate.
“Obviously there is a lot of legislation still before us, and we’ll make those calls as they come along,” Crisafulli said.
The emotionally charged measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, has drawn opposition from the state university system’s Board of Governors, university police chiefs and the 12 public universities. Among the opponents has been Florida State University President John Thrasher, who, until November, was a powerful senator.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer isn’t ready to concede defeat, responding in an email that “nothing is dead until sine die.” Sine die is the expression used around the Capitol for the end of the legislative session.
“The people have a right to know where senators stand on the bill,” Hammer said in the email. “Tough votes are part of the process.”
Diaz de la Portilla’s comments Thursday came a day after Florida Carry, a Second Amendment advocacy group, asserted in a blog post that the Miami Republican intended to have the bill appear before the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday but was told to scuttle those plans by Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando.
“Clearly caving to the anti-gun Senate Democrats rather than abiding the pro-gun Republican platform,” Florida Carry declared about Gardiner.
The alert continued by saying that “ordering a committee chairperson not to calendar pro-self-defense legislation is a tactic worthy only of Democrat former U.S. Senate President Harry Reid.”
Gardiner spokeswoman Katie Betta said the Florida Carry alert, in “grossly mischaracterizing” Gardiner, incorrectly states that the president makes the final decisions on bills before committees.
“In short, President Gardiner has in no way ‘ordered the bill killed,’ ” Betta said in an email.
The News Service of Florida’s Jim Turner contributed to this report.