State Senator Joe Gruters (R), who is also serving as the Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, and Florida Republicans are cheering today as the Chairman’s legislation regarding the 2nd Amendment passed the Senate this Tuesday. The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Tuesday, in a 24-16 vote, to give final approval to HB259, which passed the Florida House last month. This directs the bill to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), but the Governor has not commented on whether or not he will sign the bill.
In a press release, Senator Gruters explained that “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.” This results in “people being prevented from carrying guns on properties shared by religious institutions and schools.”
Commenting that his bill closes a “loophole,” Gruters admitted that, to him, it’s ultimately “about safety.”
In a statement after the passing of the bill, Gruters expressed that “we saw what happened in Texas when a church… was the target.” It took “six seconds…to secure that location,” and this bill “gives schools the needed safety.” He added that “it gives churches the additional security that they need,” and “this gives the property owners the ultimate responsibility to make the decision that’s best for them.”
However, Florida Democrats countered, arguing that this measure will not increase safety but will instead put more lives at risk.
Gary Farmer (D), the Senate Minority Leader, voiced his disapproval of the bill, saying that “it’s a fallacy, Dirty Harry, Rambo, John McClane aren’t going to be rising up in a church and taking out the bad guy.” Instead, Farmer believes that “when you’ve got more guns, you’ve got more danger, period.”
“They’re supposed to be peaceful places of worship,” Farmer said, so “why anybody would bring a gun to a church is beyond me.”