A primary obstacle to Florida open carry has been removed. The person who was blocking open carry in Florida was Senator Diaz de la Portilla (R) of Miami Dade. Senator Portilla refused to let the open carry bill out of committee in 2015. Then he repeated the performance in 2016. The bill had passed the Miami House by an overwhelming margin, and had a large majority support in the Senate. From sun-sentinal.com:
And yet he singlehandedly has killed in the Legislature this year bills that would allow concealed carry permit holders to openly carry firearms, to carry them on college campuses, and to carry them in airport terminals.
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Diaz de la Portilla decides what bills get a hearing there. All the gun bills were assigned to his committee, and he refused to hear them all, effectively killing them.
Many Second Amendment supporters vowed to work against Portilla's reelection. He lost by 6,000 votes out of 179,000 cast.
Senator Bullard, who was chairman of the Miami-Dade Democrat party, lost his seat to a Republican, keeping the Republican advantage in the Senate. The numbers are the same as last term, 25 Republicans to 15 Democrats. From miamiherald.com:
Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Coral Gables, was defeated by Rep. Jose Javier Rodriquez, D-Miami, in the race for District 37, and Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Ridge, lost to Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, in District 40.
Florida carry analyzed Portilla's blockage of the pro-rights bills. They concluded that the Senate leadership wanted a cover so that they did not have to vote on the bills. From a Florida Carry alert:
Through his resistance to calendar SB 176, Sen. Diaz de la Portilla is ignoring the success of the House companion bill for his own personal reasons, and denying the bill its deserved consideration by the remaining Senate committees. This is an intentional attempt at running out the clock, so fellow Senators are not put in the position of having to vote yea or nay on the right to bear arms on campus.
In this way, they can claim support for self defense by honestly saying they’ve never voted against a pro-gun bill.
With Senator Portilla gone, Frank Artiles is added as a new senator. He probably will not take the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, but he is another vote. As a member of the Florida House, Frank Artiles voted for the open carry bill, HB 4001, last year.
Only five states generally forbidding the open carry of holstered handguns. It appears that Florida is the next domino to fall. That would leave only New York, Illinois, California, and North Carolina who forbid open carry. When Florida goes, North Carolina is likely to be next.
The restoration of Second Amendment rights, increment by increment, continues.
When President Trump nominates Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution as written, we are likely to see Supreme Court cases that strike down more infringements on the exercise of the Second Amendment. Those cases may take years to work their way through the system.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch