(Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Two Florida Senate committees have passed bills that would enable citizens with concealed carry permits to practice open carry and campus carry in the Sunshine State.

As the Tampa Bay TimesSenate Bill 68 — sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker — allows concealed guns on Florida’s colleges and university campuses. The measure passed in the Senate Higher Education Committee by a 5-3 vote along party lines with Democrats opposing. Supporters say the bill would allow students, faculty and staff to be prepared in the event of an active shooter or sexual assault.

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“You certainly have my support to defend yourself the way you see fit,” Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, told a woman who said she was a victim of sexual assault and supported the measure.

Meanwhile, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed  Senate Bill 300, which lets anybody with a concealed carry permit to carry openly wherever concealed carry is allowed. That bill passed by a 3-2 vote, also along party lines.

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, both measures still have to pass in other committees before reaching the Senate floor for a full vote. Companion bills in the House of Representatives are also being considered.

Over 1.4 million Floridians have concealed-weapons permits, the Tampa Bay Times says.

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