Cape Coral Republican Rep. Dane Eagle announced a pair of bills Tuesday that would relax rules on conceal carry weapons permitholders whose firearms are seen, and another to “eliminate fraud” among Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients.
HB 39 would make a brief sighting of a firearm held by a person with a CCW permit a noncriminal violation with a $25 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine for a second offense. A third offense would go down as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Current law sticks CCW permit holders whose weapons are seen by others with a misdemeanor on the first offense.
“I am always committed to removing burdensome and unnecessary government intrusion, and in this particular case, this legislation will prevent law abiding citizens from being prosecuted as a criminal,” Eagle said. “A firearm becoming temporarily and openly displayed to the ordinary sight of another person by a license holder is not a criminal act and therefore should not be treated as a crime.”
The bill was filed in August by former Rep. Neil Combee, but was taken over by Eagle and Pensacola Republican Rep. Frank White now that Combee is no longer in the House. HB 39 would not apply in cases where a concealed weapon was intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner outside of the realm of necessary self-defense.
Eagle also filed HB 751, which would make several changes to TANF, including boosting the penalties for recipients who don’t comply with work requirements and barring them from spending the benefits money in certain locations, including a medical marijuana treatment center or dispensary.
Under the bill, the first noncompliance would result in benefits being stripped from families for 30 days rather than 10 days; a second violation would see recipients stripped of benefits for three months instead of one; a third violation boosts the penalty period from 3 months to 6 months; and a fourth violation bumps it from 6 months to a year.
“This bill will help eliminate fraud and ensure that tax dollars are only being spent on the truly needy – not those trying to manipulate the system or who are able to support themselves. We need to bridge the gap to self-sufficiency instead of perpetuating government dependence,” Eagle said.
The bill would set the reinstatement date for TANF benefits to the date when the recipient began to comply with work requirements or the first day of the month after the penalty period, whichever is later.