More than two-thirds of Miami-Dade voters oppose legislation allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit in Florida, and nearly the same support stronger gun laws, according to newly released polling data.
New York-based public relations and research firm Global Strategies Group surveyed 500 voters early last month on behalf of Giffords, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on promoting gun control policies.
The margin of error, at a 95% confidence level, was 4.4%.
Pollsters found 68% of respondents oppose permitless carry, including 71% of registered Democrats, and 65% of registered Republicans and independent voters. That includes more than half of the voters in Miami-Dade who supported Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election, with 60% saying they are against more lax carry restrictions and 53% saying they “strongly oppose” the idea.
That was until they learned more about the policy. Once voters received additional information about “constitutional carry,” which would enable anyone who can legally purchase a firearm to carry a loaded gun in public, they liked the idea even less. After learning what such a law would allow and hearing examples of who could take advantage of it, overall voter opposition grew by 12 percentage points to 80%.
Voters in blocs key to DeSantis’ win this year in Miami-Dade — where he scored 55.3% of the vote compared to 44% for Democrat Charlie Crist — similarly grew more wary of no-permit carry with more information.
Eighty-one percent of Hispanic respondents said they were against permitless carry after hearing more about it, while 76% of no-party voters, 76% of ticket-splitters and 72% of low-turnout voters also said no.
In total, opposition to permitless carry among DeSantis voters rose to 69% once respondents received additional facts and figures, pollsters said. That’s an issue Democrats can lean on in two years, as well as something the Governor should consider if he embarks on a run at the White House, said former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a senior adviser to Giffords Florida.
“In the 2024 elections, Democratic candidates can win in Miami-Dade and compete statewide if they embrace a renewed commitment to preventing gun violence,” she said.
“Voters in South Florida overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws and know that the Republican ‘guns everywhere’ agenda is far outside the mainstream. Gov. DeSantis should reconsider his reckless plan to pass permitless carry in Florida — it puts far too many lives at risk and is an insult to victims of gun violence from Miami to Orlando.”
Gun violence across Miami-Dade — Florida’s most populous county — shot up 45% last year, according to an NBC analysis that found nearly one in four victims was 20 or younger. Across the county in 2021, there were nearly 1,200 shootings, including 111 homicides.
Following a wave of gun violence this year, Miami-Dade community leaders and activists convened to discuss the issue and search for answers.
Democratic Rep. Kevin Chambliss, whose district covers a southern portion of the county home to much of the gun violence, said people are “afraid to go to sleep” in his district for fear of getting hit by a stray bullet.
“What they do is they get a top mattress and put it down and sleep on the floor,” he said during a town hall meeting in the unincorporated Goulds neighborhood in August. “No child should live in a war zone.”
Accordingly, more than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, 77%, said gun violence was a major issue going into the General Election. That was more than inflation (75%), immigration (66%) and abortion (62%).
Pollsters said 65% of Miami-Dade voters back stronger gun laws. And while only 46% of DeSantis supporters agreed on tighter restrictions, just 3% said they should be weaker.
Giffords and Global Strategies Group released the polling data, collected in the lead-up to and shortly after the Nov. 8 election, three days after DeSantis said a law granting permitless carry to Florida gun owners “will be done” in the upcoming Legislative Session.
“That was something I’ve always supported,” he said. “That puts us in line with the majority of states.”
Twenty-four states in the U.S. have laws allowing permitted carry, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. Another, Alabama, has a law allowing the practice set to kick in Jan. 1.
Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont allow it for all residents 18 and older. In Missouri, a person must be 19 or in the military. Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming allow permitless carry for people 21 and older.
Guns are now the No. 1 cause of death among children and teens in the U.S., ahead of car crashes, other injuries and congenital disease, according to a new analysis of publicly available data on which the New York Times reported last week.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found the U.S. accounts for nearly 97% of gun-related child deaths among similarly large and wealthy countries despite comprising jut 46% of the group’s overall population.
In other rich countries, gun deaths are not even among the top four causes of death.