Florida House Passes Bill Allowing Permitless Concealed Carry

The Florida House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry a concealed firearm without a state permit.[0] This follows the passing of a similar bill by the Florida Senate on a 27-13 vote.[1] If signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida will become the 26th state to pass a law allowing permitless concealed carry.[2] The move comes amid a wave of GOP-led initiatives to loosen gun regulation, despite calls from Democratic lawmakers and gun violence prevention groups to tighten them.[1]

Under the proposed legislation, anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida will be able to carry one without a permit. This means that training and a background check will no longer be necessary for people to carry concealed guns in public.[3] However, the legislation will prohibit people from carrying concealed guns in some locations, including prisons, schools, polling places and most athletic events. The law upholds certain limitations on concealed weapon possession in certain locations such as police stations, courthouses, polling places, schools, and government meeting places.

In addition, the legislation includes measures to enhance school security as part of its focus on public safety. Included in its many provisions are the extension of the guardian program to private schools, enhanced active shooter training for law enforcement, and upgraded sharing of threat information among school districts.[4] The proposal encompasses several modifications linked to the safety of schools, such as allocating funds for fortifying schools and allowing private schools to partake in a contentious program that permits the presence of armed “guardians” on school grounds.

Citizens in the state would still be able to obtain concealed weapon permits under the proposed legislation. In order to be eligible for protection under interstate concealed carry reciprocity agreements, individuals in Florida can still apply for a license to carry concealed weapons and firearms.

Although Florida does not currently require a permit to purchase a firearm, gun carriers still need to apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm, a process that currently involves specific background checks and training. Currently, nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapons permit.[3] Although a background check and a three-day waiting period are necessary to buy a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not mandatory for private transfer or exchange of firearms.[3] Individuals are still able to acquire permits in order to bypass the waiting period for purchasing and to possess firearms in states that have mutual agreements.[3]

While gun-rights supporters have praised the permitless carry bill, some argue that the measure doesn’t live up to the “constitutional carry” label. They have argued that the state should allow “open carry,” meaning firearms would not have to be concealed.[5] Gun rights advocates have criticized the permitless carry bill as not being “true constitutional carry” because it does not allow for the open display of firearms – a measure that is allowed in all but three states in the country (Illinois and New York are the other two states). Second Amendment supporters have pushed for an amendment to allow open carry in Florida.[6]

The move has been met with opposition from gun control advocates, including March for Our Lives, a gun regulations group formed after the Parkland shooting, which demonstrated against the bill in Tallahassee.[7] Democrats have also argued that easing gun restrictions will result in increased violence.[8] “As a teacher, I saw the ways in which gun violence negatively impacted the young people in Florida, mentally and physically,” said Rep. Johanna Lopez, D-Orlando.[5] We find ourselves in a situation where we anticipate our younger generation to mature in an environment where individuals are carrying concealed weapons without any form of preparation.[8]

The legislation will now move forward to the Senate to be debated and voted on. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor DeSantis, Florida will become the 26th state to allow permitless concealed carry.

0. “Florida Senate rejects safe gun storage amendment in permitless carry bill” WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2023/03/29/florida-senate-considers-permitless-carry-safe-gun-storage-amendment/

1. “Florida On Track To Let Residents Carry Concealed Guns Without Permits—Joining 25 Other States” Forbes, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2023/03/30/florida-legislature-sends-permitless-gun-bill-to-desantis-who-could-make-florida-the-26th-state-with-permitless-concealed-carry/

2. “Florida lawmaker introduces, then quickly withdraws, measure allowing people to openly carry weapons” South Florida Sun Sentinel, 22 Mar. 2023, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-ne-florida-open-carry-weapons-20230322-ibumforu7zalblkpzof2oafb3q-story.html

3. “Florida passes bill allowing people to carry concealed guns without permit” Hindustan Times, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/florida-passes-bill-allowing-people-to-carry-concealed-guns-without-permit-101680209373830.html

4. “Florida Senate poised to give final approval to permitless carry bill” WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.wptv.com/news/state/florida-senate-poised-to-give-final-approval-to-permitless-carry-bill

5. “Florida House OKs permitless gun bill without open carry” Orlando Sentinel, 24 Mar. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-gun-permitless-carry-passes-house-20230324-pqbvpekbfzgmnlo4whhpes77iq-story.html

6. “House votes to make Florida a gun license-free state” Tallahassee Democrat, 24 Mar. 2023, https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/politics/2023/03/24/house-votes-to-make-florida-a-gun-license-free-state-sends-bill-to-senate/70044935007/

7. “March for Our Lives organizers protest permitless concealed carry bill in Tallahassee” WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale, 24 Mar. 2023, https://wsvn.com/news/local/florida/march-for-our-lives-organizers-protest-permitless-concealed-carry-bill-in-tallahassee/

8. “Bill passed that allows concealed carry of firearms without a permit” WCJB, 24 Mar. 2023, https://www.wcjb.com/2023/03/24/bill-passed-that-allows-concealed-carry-firearms-without-permit/

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