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NRA-backed gun bill dies in Florida Senate

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concealed weaponsIt’s not often that a bill backed by the National Rifle Association dies in the Florida Legislature.

But that’s what happened Thursday thanks to the lobbying force of the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the legislative acumen of Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who for the second straight day helped kill a controversial bill.

SB 296 would have allowed those “in lawful possession” of guns to conceal weapons without a permit during mandatory evacuations and local emergencies, such as riots. That’s not the same as a gun owner, and could apply to adult children or spouses of gun owners with clean criminal records who are found carrying guns.

The bill, which passed the House last month 80-36, was called “insane” by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. He worked with Latvala on an amendment that would limit the exemption for concealed weapons permits to 24 hours. It also removed the exemption once the carrier of the weapon reached a destination upon evacuation.

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