Published: Mar 15, 2011 4:55 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 15, 2011 1:55 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- A bill that would allow weapons to be openly carried in Florida has cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the bill (SB 234).

Sen. Greg Evers is sponsoring the bill. The Baker Republican said his purpose was to prevent charges against people with concealed weapon permits who accidentally show their weapons. He uses the example of wind blowing a person's jacket open.

Law enforcement and retail business groups oppose the bill. A National Rifle Association representative endorsed it.

The committee had previously removed a section that allowed guns on college campuses after hearing from a man whose daughter had been accidentally shot and killed at Florida State University. A House committee considers a companion bill (HB 517) Tuesday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)