New FL law allows guns in schools co-located with churches; critics opposed expansion of gun rights

New FL law allows guns in schools co-located with churches; critics opposed expansion of gun rights

A training class on carrying concealed weapons. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images) A new Florida law that expands rights to carry concealed firearms and erodes Florida’s prohibition of guns on school property is now in effect. The Republican-backed measure passed the Legislature this spring as Senate Bill 259 and was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday. Sen. Joe Gruters, a southwest Florida Republican and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, sponsored the bill, saying his intent was to allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons during religious activities regardless whether the activities are conducted on property co-located with a school. “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,” the new law says. In other words, a religious institution that operates a school on its property may now legally carry firearms in and around that school. Likewise, a school that leases or loans out any of its property for religious activities can no longer ban firearms on that same property. Gruters argued throughout the spring legislative session that the new law protects the property rights of religious organizations that want to exercise their right to bear arms even on property they own or lease which is co-located with schools. A religious organization may decide for itself whether to permit […]

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