By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday formally received a bill that would let people with concealed-weapons licenses carry guns at churches or other religious institutions that share properties with schools.

Lawmakers passed the measure (HB 259) this spring after it was debated repeatedly in recent years. Florida law generally allows people to carry concealed weapons at churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions, but it bars being armed on school properties.

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That leads to people being prevented from carrying guns on properties shared by religious institutions and schools.

The bill would change that, with Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, saying in April that it closes a “loophole” and that it would improve safety at religious institutions.

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Democrats, however, disputed that it would improve safety.

“These are religious institutions. They’re supposed to be peaceful places of worship,” Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, said during the legislative session. “Why anybody would bring a gun to a church is beyond me.”

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