Florida Cabinet could get special exemption to carry concealed guns almost anywhere
TALLAHASSEE — Three of Florida's four highest-ranking elected officials — and potentially the lieutenant governor and the state's 160 lawmakers, too — could be able to carry guns almost anywhere in the state under a special carve-out in Florida law being considered by the Legislature.
Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, who filed SB 646, said one of the three members of the Florida Cabinet "approached" him about proposing the exemption, which would let the Cabinet members carry concealed anywhere in Florida where federal law doesn't prohibit guns, so long as they have a concealed-weapons permit.
That means — unlike most of the rest of the state's 1.7 million concealed-weapons permit-holders — those statewide elected officials could be armed in the state's 15 "gun-free zones," such as in public schools, airport passenger terminals, police stations, government meetings, athletic events and bars.
Steube would not say which Cabinet member — Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater or Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — wanted the law changed for their benefit. Each of those offices are elected by voters statewide; Gov. Rick Scott oversees Cabinet meetings but is not himself a member of the Cabinet.