Florida Senate ready to take up bill allowing guns in churches


The Senate is scheduled Thursday to take up a bill that could help clear the way for people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at churches.

The proposal (SB 1048), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, has been backed by Republican lawmakers who contend it could help prevent incidents such as a massacre last year at a Texas church.

But the bill has been opposed by Democrats and narrowly passed two committees in 6-4 and 7-5 votes.

Under current law, people with concealed-weapons licenses can carry guns at churches and other religious institutions, but they are prevented from doing so if schools are on the property.

The bill seeks to allow people to carry guns at churches that have schools, though it would prevent carrying firearms during school hours or when school extracurricular activities take place.

A House version of the bill (HB 1419) does not include the restrictions related to school hours or extracurricular activities. That version, sponsored by Dover Republicans Ross Spano and Lawrence McClure, has cleared committees and is positioned to go to the full House.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.