Powerful Republican State Sen. Anitere Flores has declared she will not support many of the pro-gun bills up for debate in the Florida Senate, striking a major blow to those supporting expanded gun rights in the state.
Sen. Flores said specifically she will not support 10 of the 11 pro-guns bills sponsored by fellow Republican Sen. Greg Steube, who this year has taken a piece-meal approach in trying to repeal Florida’s gun-free zones.
Since Flores represents the key deciding vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first committee stop for all of Steube’s pro-gun bills, it is likely those bills are dead in the water, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.
“He and I do not see eye-to-eye on probably any of the other gun bills,” said Flores. “I do not support having guns on campus, I do not support having guns in airports, I do not support having guns in school zones. I don’t support those things and Sen. Steube feels differently and that’s fine but this is where we are this year.”
“Gun issues will continue perhaps to be debated,” Flores continued. “I don’t know that they’ll continue to be debated in this committee because these would be bills that I wouldn’t be in support of.”
Sunshine State News reports the NRA was not pleased that Flores had spoken out against the bills.
“I thought that the Senate was an independent body,” NRA’s Marion Hammer told SSN. “There are 40 members. I’m unaware the entire Senate has authorized her to speak for them.”
Gun control group Moms Demand Action expressed their support for Flores’s stance, posting a picture of Flores and Florida chapter leader Michelle Gajda on Twitter.
The one pro-gun bill that was passed out of the committee on Tuesday, Senate Bill 616, would allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their guns into courthouses and then temporarily store them at security checkpoints.
According to the Miami Herald, Sen. Steube said the bill was intended to help people, namely attorneys, protect themselves when walking to and from court.
“I can’t tell you how many lawyers in my district who have told me they’ve had their lives threatened,” Steube said. Under current law, “they can’t carry from the car to the courthouse, because they can’t carry in the courthouse.”
The bill now heads to other committees in the Senate for consideration.