Jason Pizzo files amendment to allow guns in legislative meetings
Jason Pizzo came close, but Republicans shot him down.

The House already voted down a similar proposal.

If the Legislature wants Floridians carrying guns anywhere, one Democratic state Senator has a suggestion: why not let the public bring firearms to legislative hearings?

Sen. Jason Pizzo filed an amendment to a permitless carry bill (SB 150) that would allow individuals to carry firearms into legislative committee meetings.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican, and has been billed as “constitutional carry.” It eliminated the requirement to obtain a concealed weapon license in order to carry a weapon in public places.

But critics on the right say the bill falls well short of that, and still restricts individuals’ right to bear arms in Florida. Most notably, gun rights activists have called for open carry legislation, eliminating the requirement to conceal weapons entirely. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has signaled she will not support that, citing opposition from the Florida Sheriffs Association.

The legislation also leaves in place several restrictions on places individuals still cannot carry a concealed weapon, including police stations, courthouses, polling places, schools and meeting places for government bodies. That includes “any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof.”

Pizzo’s amendment would take meetings of the Legislature and its committees off that list of gun-free zones.

Gun rights groups have publicized the amendment.

“Currently permit holders are allowed to carry into the state Capitol but prohibited from carrying in any official meeting or floor session,” noted Matt Collins, the director of Florida Gun Rights.

The Pizzo amendment reads similar to one presented by Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, on the House floor. The House passed its own permitless carry bill (HB 543) last week, but voted down Eskamani’s amendment on a voice vote.

Eskamani during floor debate categorized her amendment as “cheeky.”

“If we think that more guns make people safe, and if we think that there’s no value in training and so forth,” Eskamani said, “then we should walk the talk. We should allow for guns to be in all of our committee spaces, to be in the gallery, to not just have it be held by those who are professionals but have it be held by folks who might have no training in this body.”

The Senate bill is slated for discussion on the floor today at 3:30 p.m.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Lynda

    March 29, 2023 at 8:14 am

    Good for Sen. Pizzo. Show exactly that the GQP is willing to have guns everywhere but where they themselves are exposed to “permitless, uneducated” gun carriers.

    Exposing more residents and visitors to more guns in Florida is bad for businesses, bad for school children playing outside a school and exceptionally bad for tourists who don’t want to be exposed to guns everywhere. Permitless, Open, so called Constitutional Carry of guns worry tourists who come for a good time, not to be shot by people who are untrained but gun-crazy fools.

  • Sheila

    March 29, 2023 at 11:24 am

    (Rolling eyes) what a great guy that useless Sen Pizzo is.

  • PeterH

    March 29, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    Guns will not be ‘everywhere’ ….. Shopping malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, and amusement parks etc ARE PRIVATE BUSINESSES……that are not governed by our wacko Governor or our insipid Republican legislators. Businesses like airports will install metal detectors and individuals who are carrying a gun WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER.

  • Larkin

    March 29, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    Unsurprising that Pizzo is yet again spinning his wheels on antagonistic, “cheeky” activities instead of anything that will provide a tangible benefit to his district. The guy is such a waste of an empty suit.

    • Tjb

      March 29, 2023 at 5:43 pm

      Yea we should be talking about banning books and freaking out over wokeness.

      • Larkin

        March 30, 2023 at 2:05 pm

        Clearly there is more being discussed if there are firearm bills being amended by useless liberals with too much time on their hands.

    • shmuelman

      March 30, 2023 at 8:49 pm

      Why do you hate the Second Amendment?

Comments are closed.


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