FLORIDA – Bill allowing guns in churches heads to Governor for signature

Senator Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota: “The bill closes a “loophole.”

LAWMAKERS GIVE BOOST TO GUNS AT CHURCH

TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would let people with concealed-weapons licenses pack heat at churches or other religious institutions that share properties with schools is heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday voted 24-16 along party lines to give final approval to the measure (HB 259), which passed the House last month. DeSantis’ office did not immediately reply to a question about whether the governor will sign the bill.

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

Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, said the bill closes a “loophole.”

“This is about safety,” Gruters said. “We saw what happened in Texas when a church, unfortunately, was the target. Six seconds it took them to secure that location. This gives schools the needed safety they need. It gives churches the additional security that they need. This gives the property owners the ultimate responsibility to make the decision that’s best for them.”