Bill aims to gut Florida’s concealed carry regimen with ‘constitutional carry’
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Legislation would radically expand ability to carry guns in public.

A bill filed in the Florida House would get rid of the state’s restrictions on who can carry guns in public.

GOP state Rep. Anthony Sabatini this week filed legislation (HB 273) to roll back requirements for concealed carry permits, lower the gun-possessing age and require reciprocity with gun permitting rules from other states.

Sabatini on Twitter boasted his bill “deletes the requirement that a person obtain a permission slip from government before concealing a weapon for their self defense—also known as ‘constitutional carry.’ ”

He added: “Our Second Amendment right should not be determined by a government bureaucracy.”

Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization promoting sensible gun control, has dismissed the “constitutional carry” movement as “permitless carry.”

“These ‘permitless carry’ bills lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public—and in many states would let violent criminals, teenagers and people with no safety training legally carry in crowded town centers and on city streets,” the organization writes.

“States that pass permitless carry see a substantial increase in gun violence. This dangerous legislation ignores the 88 percent of Americans who support requiring safety training and a clean criminal record in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.”

Everytown worked with then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2018 to reduce access by dangerous individuals to firearms in the wake of the the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The deadly attack left 17 dead at the Parkland school.

Meanwhile, some gun rights activists were slow to embrace Sabatini’s legislation.

“I have not yet had the opportunity to read and evaluate the bill, nor have I had the chance to talk to Rep. Sabatini to see what he is trying to do,” said Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former president of the National Rifle Association. reports that if the bill were to become law, Florida would join 16 other states that don’t require any permit to carry a firearm in public spaces.

Right now, Florida requires a permit to carry a gun except for hunting and fishing or when evacuating from a hurricane.

The gun legislation reaches beyond just concealed permits. For example, the legislation reduces the unlawful carrying of firearms into certain institutions from a felony to a misdemeanor. It also eliminates a requirement to be 21 years old to carry.

The legislation also includes controversial “reciprocity” language requiring Florida to recognize all concealed weapon and firearm licenses from other states, even those with looser requirements than Florida.

“All valid licenses to carry concealed weapons and firearms issued by other states are hereby given full faith and credit in this state,” reads Sabatini’s bill.

Everytown calls reciprocity “a chaotic and dangerous policy that would gut every state’s gun laws and make our communities less safe.”

Since no national rules exist setting a minimum standard for conceal carry requirements, Everytown leaders say such a change would “effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Daniel

    October 2, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    I won’t voter for him.

  • gary

    October 2, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Open carry will make Florida safer!

  • Bob Nelson

    October 2, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Constitutional carry is the correct interpretation of the second Amendment. This is a federally mandated right, the states should have no say whatsoever.

  • Wayne Webb

    October 2, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Caught your little interjection “Sabatini on Twitter boasted” So much for unbiased reporting.

  • Mark

    October 2, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Governor Reagan pushed the same thing in California, until they realized that it applies to everyone, and the Black Panther Party armed themselves, and encouraged all Black people to do the same for protection. All of a sudden it was a bad idea.

  • Michael Fisher

    October 3, 2019 at 8:03 am

    This is an excellent bill! Floridians should support this bill and take back the rights we are losing at an unprecedented pace. That traitor Rick Scott sold us out for a senate seat, this is step 1 in getting back what we lost. Also, we need a bill similar to Michigan’s HB4975 which holds businesses and government liable for shootings that occur in gun free zones. Government and businesses shouldn’t be able to restrict our right to defend ourselves and then provide no protection (security or screening).

  • mike meskimen

    October 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    This bill is exactly what should be, in Florida, and Nationwide. ‘Everytown’ will say or anything, legal or not, moral or ethical, to disarm Florida and America.
    Everyone already has the Constitutional right to bear (carry ) arms. We shouldn’t even have to be going thru this never ending Socialist stupidity.
    And btw, Mr Ogles your writing here is HARDLY what I would call unbiased.

  • Rob C

    October 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    As a CFL holder in FLORIDA I don’t mind the license. I like the fact you are at least background checked, trained and educated before you run out and carry. I carry almost everywhere and no one ever knows at all. Only because I work on a Federal installation where you cant bring one through the gate at all am I unarmed during the week. I wish I could leave it in the car when at work, securely locked. Now THAT is a law that should be proposed, at least to leave it in your car, locked up. It keeps law abiding military and Fed Employees from carrying when we would like to. On the way to or from work I am unprotected.

  • James E

    October 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Every person who buys a gun has a background check already. A concealed permit is no more thorough than the one you get when making a gun purchase. People commenting and wanting more restrictions don’t seem to understand this. This article is biased and and misleading. Constitutional carry states have lower gun crime than all others. New Hampshire being the best example. An armed society is a polite societt

  • James Holmes

    October 3, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I guess you figured your lies couldn’t be disproven with a simple search of the facts. 1) Your claim that it will “allow violent criminals to carry” is a blatant lie. Violent convicted felons are already prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, and Constitutional Carry doesn’t change that. As for your claim that States who pass Constitutional Carry see an increase in violent crime…

  • Eugene

    October 4, 2019 at 12:16 am

    You can have and carry a firearm anywhere in the United States of America.. it’s a God given right as a free American to carry what we think is good for us.. there are city codes that might look down at it but it’s a code not A LAW . To ask permission to carry is a government way of outright bulldozing us or bullying it’s people and another way to know who’s doing what and making us pay for something that is free ..we don’t have to pay or ask permission for anything in America .. we are free to say,do ,carry what and where we want.. READ THE CONSTITUTION.. if you think for a second that Democrats have your best interest you are dead wrong.

  • Bill Smith

    October 4, 2019 at 5:23 am

    You wrote, “Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization promoting sensible gun control…”

    Is this a news article or an editorial?

  • Rick

    October 4, 2019 at 10:58 am

    This is a live right not a permission slip. You would not stop animals from there defense mechanisms, why people. Although laws should keep criminals from the right to conceal should in place. Tons are already in place and does nothing. Criminals are not going to follow any laws therefore our conceal carry can, in many case stop an attack. Experts agree on gun control like Hitler, Fidel Castro, Stalin, Mao Tso-Tung, and Idi Amin are just a few.

  • Dan Bowkley

    October 4, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    So basically you think that this law will suddenly “allow” a bunch of people who are already prohibited from having guns to be able to carry those guns (which they’re already banned from owning in the first place) on the street?

    What exactly makes you think someone who is barred from owning a gun, yet still has one anyway, would look at the requirement for a permit and say “well shucks, I guess I can’t stick my illegal gun in my pocket…?”

    You probably think putting a “no guns allowed” sign in front of a school will prevent school shootings too, don’t you…


    October 6, 2019 at 9:52 am


  • jonathan nichols

    October 7, 2019 at 6:44 am

    At least tell the truth that you have no idea about the article subject when you write. States with constitutional carry have a decrease in crime. Criminals with felonies gave up their rights therefore are not allowed to legally own firearms or carry them. Last but not least the 2nd amendment says to keep and bear arms, not to keep in bear arms if you pay for a permission slip.

  • Barry Cain

    October 9, 2019 at 6:32 am

    This is a very biased write up full of false information, just as we have come to expect from our biased Liberal media.

  • tac-guy

    October 11, 2019 at 1:13 am

    “States that pass permitless carry see a substantial increase in gun violence.”
    Do you often print unfounded statements? Did you bother to fact check any of Michael Bloomberg’s, I mean, Every town’s statements against gun related violence numbers through the state LE agencies for those 15 states that have Constitutional Carry? Did you even think about it?

  • Maurice

    October 11, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Hi Jacob,
    Your position on HB-273, is wrong in all aspects…

    1. Law abiding citizens follow the Law, and if required to have a permit to carry they go through the legal process, to obtain the Legal Permit, and paid their fee’s for that privilege.

    2. Criminals do not abide by any Law.! And carry firearms whether it is legal for them to do so or Not…

    3. People who were prosecuted on a Federal Crime and served 366 day in confinement or longer, are prohibited from having, carrying, or being in the same location of any firearm, Pistol or Rifle unless they are locked up in a safe, and they have no access to said firearm.

    It does not matter if the Felony Conviction was or was not a Violent crime.!
    None of the the offenders, have a way to get their Rights back except by Presidential Pardon.
    There are over 1 Million Non-Violent offenders in Florida, who will never get their rights back, to allow them to carry a firearm for self defense.! Regardless if HB 273 passes or not.!

    4. But the Real Point of this is that Criminals will be carrying firearms, regardless of whether it is Legal for them to do so or Not.


  • Barry Cain

    October 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

    The bad guys love anti gun laws because it doesn’t affect them
    and it makes their crimes so much safer.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn