Capitol Watch: Okaloosa Rep’s Bill Would Change Rules On Guns, Alcohol Monitoring For People Accused Of Some Crimes

Capitol Watch: Okaloosa Rep’s Bill Would Change Rules On Guns, Alcohol Monitoring For People Accused Of Some Crimes

Rep. Patt Maney's HB 373 challenges existing norms by preventing courts from seizing concealed carry permits in misdemeanor cases unless a public safety risk is evident. The bill also streamlines alcohol monitoring requirements, potentially expediting the release process for certain defendants.

This article is part of an ongoing series that will continue through the 2024 legislative session in the Florida State Capitol.

Representative Patt Maney‘s House Bill 373 would change the laws about surrendering firearms when accused of a crime in certain situations and make a couple of changes to the requirements given to people released on bond concerning alcohol monitoring devices. 

The new law would apply to many pretrial release cases. That’s when a person can get out of jail with a bond after their arrests and the district attorney files charges – or when they are released without a bond after they are booked and charged. 

Concealed Carry Permits, Weapons and Arrests

Maney’s bill would ban courts from taking concealed carry permits from people accused of a misdemeanor “unless it appears that the defendant would present a danger to the public if he or she were to possess a concealed weapon or concealed firearm. 

Alcohol Monitoring

The portion of the bill that deals with alcohol monitoring appears to provide a plan to move people who have been released on the condition they have a continuous remote alcohol monitoring system attached to them through the system and out of the jails more quickly. 

The bill would require a defendant’s release in two hours or less after a judge determines they can be under supervised release with an alcohol monitor.

The bill would also stop the courts from requiring a continuous remote alcohol monitor for a first misdemeanor offense, “unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that such a monitor is required to protect public safety.”

The speaker of the House, Paul Renner (R – Flagler County) referred the bill to two subcommittees – the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee. Maney sits on the Judiciary Committee. Typically, bills referred to fewer committees have a much better chance at an up or down vote on the House floor and, therefore, have a better chance of being made into law. 

If the law and a sister bill in the Florida Senate were to pass, be reconciled (a process where the house bill and senate bill get mashed together into one law) and the governor either signed or failed to veto it – this would become law on July 1, 2024. 

You can read the two page bill for yourself here

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul is the publisher of Mid Bay News. He graduated from Southern Methodist University's School of Journalism with a Convergance Journalism Degree and a Master's Degree in Public Administration From Florida State.

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