By PAUL FLEMMING, Tallahassee Democrat
TALLAHASSEE –– Three gun bills passed the Senate this morning with the next stop Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. He’s likely to sign them.
The National Rifle Association-backed legislation would:
• Fine local elected officials $5,000 if they knowingly and willfully violate state law that reserves gun regulation to the Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, passed 26-11.
• Eliminate misdemeanor charges for concealed-weapon permit holders whose weapons are inadvertently revealed. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, passed 30-8.
• Restrict doctors from asking patients about the guns that they own unless it’s medically necessary. The bill, also sponsored by Evers, passed 27-10.
The votes generally fell along party lines. Though the three bills represented the entirety of the powerful NRA’s legislative agenda for this session, each was watered down during the committee process.
Evers’ bill that does away with the citation for accidentally revealing a concealed weapon began as an open-carry proposal that would have allowed guns to be brandished on the hips of permit-holders, including at universities and colleges. That provision was taken out when campus police chiefs opposed it and in the wake of a shooting death on campus of a Florida State University student earlier this year.
The restrictions on doctors originally began as a flat ban on physicians asking if patients own guns and included hefty fines. The Florida Medical Association opposed the proposal and it was doomed to failure until the FMA and NRA worked out compromise language that both approved.
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