Florida House Passes House Bill 259, To Allow Guns at Churches With Schools

Florida House members voted 76-37 to approve HB 259, sponsored by Rep. Jayer Williamson, R-Pace, and Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, that would allow people, with concealed carry permits, to carry guns at churches that share locations with schools.

The bill states (HB 259), “Notwithstanding any other law, for the purposes of safety, security, personal protection, or any other lawful purpose, a person licensed under this section may carry a concealed weapon or firearm on property owned, rented, leased, borrowed, or lawfully used by a church, synagogue, or other religious institution.”

Florida law allows people to carry concealed weapons at churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions, but currently, the law bars carrying on school properties.

The bill passed on straight party lines, with only one Democrat, Rep. James Bush, Miami, joining Republicans in supporting the measure.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 498, sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, has been approved by two committees and would need to clear the Rules Committee before it could go to the full Senate

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