Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: email@example.com
A new Florida law will allow citizens to bring a licensed concealed weapon into the state's capitol building, the Palm Beach Post reports, leaving state police to figure out how to ensure safety for all of those involved.
The law, which took effect Oct. 1, states only the state legislature can regulate where guns should be permitted or not. Prior to the policy, citizens entering the statehouse were required to leave their weapons in a lockbox at the entrance. State police have since set a new policy, which allows citizens to enter the capitol with a gun -- provided they show identification and a permit -- but cannot attend any legislative meetings while armed, the Post reports.
The new law has split lawmakers, with others worried about the risk to public safety, while others insist that there is nothing to worry about. "You're dealing with law abiding people," Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the state's National Rifle Association arm, told the newspaper. "I'm sure if they come in through the door, they show their permit. They show their ID, security is going to inform them these are places you cannot go and they're not going to do it."
Others, though, are concerned the presence of armed individuals in the building could damper otherwise rigorous debate. "The thought always crosses your mind, especially with what happened in Arizona," Jose Gonzalez, a lobbyist for Associated Industries of Florida told the Post. Gonzalez has been involved in controversial issues including immigration, smoking and gun rights.