Maybe because it’s sort of shaped like a gun, Florida loves to loosen its firearms restrictions. You can carry one in many public places as long as you’re not waving it around, and come this time next year, those places could include college campuses and junior highs. Here’s a look at how gun laws have evolved in the Sunshine State in recent years, listed by year of passage, along with those pending in 2015.
1987: Concealed carry.
Floridians can carry a concealed handgun (as long as it's licensed), an electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie, in most public spaces.
1987: Backyard shooting ranges.
Makes it legal to fire a weapon on private residential property as long as shooter is not “reckless” or “negligent” and would not cross a public right-of-way. While this bill passed 27 years ago, local governments kept a lid on ranges in many places. But a 2011 law strengthening the state’s hold on gun laws — see “Preemption law,” below — has led to a crop of home gun ranges.
2005: “Stand your ground.”
Use of deadly force is justified in the presence of a perceived threat.
2008: “Take your guns to work” law.
Prohibits employers from banning guns on their premises as long as they’re legally owned and locked inside the employee’s car.
2011: “Preemption” law.
Adds teeth to an existing 1987 law placing all gun regulations in state’s hands. Prohibits any local restrictions on guns. Any local official who tries to restrict gun use is subject to a $5,000 fine and removal from office.
2011: “Medical privacy” law.
Bars doctors from asking their patients if they keep guns at home.
H.B. 19. “School safety” bill.
Gives school district officials the right to allow K-12 school employees to carry guns on campus.
S.B. 176. Guns on college campuses.
Allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry on college and university campuses. It failed in 2014, but was reintroduced late last year.
S.B. 290 Emergency unlicensed carry.
Makes it legal to carry unlicensed concealed weapons during mandatory evacuations. This also did not pass in 2014 but is being reintroduced. It was nicknamed the “Zombie Apocalypse” bill because of an amendment added by a Democratic Senator to highlight just how bonkers it is.