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Chris Smith to appear with Debbie Wasserman Schultz to address state gun measures

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will speak to reporters and the public about a pair of controversial gun bills circulating in the Legislature at her old state Capitol stamping grounds Thursday.

Broward Sen. Chris Smith will join the Democratic National Committee chairwoman in Tallahassee to oppose legislative proposals to allow Floridians to openly carry firearms and to strike the state prohibition against guns on college campuses.

Public visits to the statehouse have been rare in recent years for Wasserman Schultz, who served in the House from 1993-2001 and as legislative aide to now-U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch, as she turned her attention to federal affairs after her election to Congress in 2001.

Wasserman Schultz and Smith both represent some of the state’s most urban and liberal electoral territory in South Florida.

The proposals in question are HB 4001/SB 68 and HB 163/SB 300, to allow guns to be carried openly and on campus, respectively.

Both have made significant progress this legislative year and appear poised for votes before the full Legislature.

Rep. Greg Steube‘s HB 4001 now sits on the House calendar awaiting a first reading, while its Senate counterpart sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers is now in Judiciary, its third of four committee stops.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is running the open carry bill alongside his father and former Senate President Don Gaetz, has advanced his proposal to its final committee in the House Judiciary panel.

Controversial gun proposals have died in the Senate on several memorable occasions in recent years.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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