Floridians could soon be able to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, under legislation backed by House Speaker Paul Renner and the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“What we’re about here today is a universal right that applies to each and every man and women regardless of race, gender or background,” Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, told reporters. He added the bill will “remove the government permission slip to require a permit to exercise a Constitutional right.”
Similar bills, known as “constitutional carry” to supporters, have been filed in recent years but failed to make it into law, despite GOP control of the Legislature. Now, with the backing of Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, the measure has more momentum ahead of the 60-day Regular Session that starts March 7.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously said he would sign such a bill if it reached his desk.
The endorsement from the Florida Sheriffs Association could also help move the bill that had previously stalled in part due to concerns from some sectors of law enforcement.
“Criminals don’t go get a permit,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, one of more than a dozen Florida Sheriffs who flanked Renner at the Monday press conference. “They don’t care about obeying the law.”
The bill is also backed by the National Rifle Association, which had seen its influence in Tallahassee wane somewhat since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland in 2018 that left 17 dead, including 14 children.
“Half of the country currently recognizes the fundamental right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm for self-defense as enshrined in our Constitution,” said Art Thomm, NRA Florida state director, in a released statement. “The NRA is proud to have led this effort across America and looks forward to welcoming Florida into the fold of freedom that constitutional carry provides.”
There are 26 states that have some form of permitless carry, although some states restrict to whom it applies. In Louisiana, only military and former military members can carry a firearm without a permit and in North Dakota that is only offered to its residents.
Rep. Chuck Brannan, a Macclenny Republican, is sponsoring HB 543 and Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican, is spearheading the measure in the upper chamber, although the bill hasn’t been filed yet as of Monday afternoon.
Democrats bashed the bill as opening the door for more violent crime and noted it would remove the firearm training requirements now in place for residents to get a permit.
“This is not constitutional carry, this is untrained carry,” said Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, a Democrat who was Mayor of Parkland when the massacre took place. “There is not a groundswell (among residents) to remove training for those who wish to concealed carry.”
Although the bill would get rid of the permit requirement, the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which processes permit applications, would still exist. Brannan said residents can still get a permit if they choose, which can help them get a permit in other states that still require it.
After the Parkland mass shooting, the Legislature passed a large bill that included a series of gun control measures and provisions aimed at strengthening school safety. Bump stocks were banned, the minimum age to buy a gun was moved up from 18 to 21, and lawmakers imposed a three-day waiting period for the purchase of all long guns.
Renner said he didn’t like the gun control provisions in the bill but didn’t regret voting for it because it also eliminated “gun-free zones.”
“I don’t regret the vote, but it was a difficult vote because there were a lot of other pieces in the bill that basically restrict the rights of law-abiding people,” Renner said. “That bill, however, did some other good things. It ended gun-free zones, which is where we see time and time again these mass shootings happen where they know people are vulnerable.”
January 30, 2023 at 2:19 pm
Uhhhh HELLO Florida leftists WHERE ARE YOU?
This article is your queue to clutch pearls and scream at the sky. You fatties are so busted being late getting back from lunch. Now you all are ordered to sit down at your kiddie porn computer and post your displeasurable leftist talking points.
Elliot, Ocean, Cassandra of the Swamp, ect..you are all being deducted a 1/2 day pay for failing in your leftist commentary responsabilities. DO BETTET SLACKERS!
January 30, 2023 at 4:10 pm
More guns please. Does that fix it for you?
We have a history on this. 1987. We tried it. No bueno.
I may be leftist compared to you, but I’m just old Florida trash who remembers when rednecks in pickups always carried a rifle in the back window, we still had dirt roads, there were no traffic problems to speak of, and best of all there were only about 5,000 Republicans who all lived on the west coast.
But as usual you guys just want to dabble. Why not impose mandatory carry. Arrest anyone caught without a gun, and fine anyone who has a gun but no ammo, and pass out free AR-15’s with every driver license. And make sure teenagers and the senile have guns, right? Grandpa can’t drive anymore but he can blast his way out of the bingo hall.
January 30, 2023 at 7:20 pm
Be careful what you wish for. 2nd Amendment rights do not superceded personal property rights. Currently, in Florida, a licensed concealed carrier enjoys the right to carry his or her concealed firearm anywhere unless specifically prohibited.
Our 2nd Amendment right does not trump personal property rights. It is feared that if “constitutional” carry becomes the law of the land in Florida, ‘NO GUNS ALLOWED’ signs will go up in businesses that are currently tolerant of licensed concealed firearm carriers. It cannot be imagined that such businesses as Publix, Walmart, Kohls, Aldis, Winn Dixie, Harveys, CVS, Walgreens and a great number of restaurants will permit the “constitutional” carrying of firearms, be they handguns, rifles or shotguns. Further, should “constitutional” carry become the law of the land in Florida, the only place an armed person will be able to legally carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise, is on a public sidewalk, walking along a public street or in a public park.
January 30, 2023 at 9:54 pm
As a conceal3d carry permit holder I could care less about any retail establishment that posts a no “gun allowed” sign. My carry piece is always on my person. And no one will ever know. Unless I have to pull it out to protect you, or myself.
Therefore, I am 100% percent in favor of this bill. If you don’t like it then don’t carry. However, when seconds matter the cops are only minutes away, when they are not eating donuts, that is.
January 31, 2023 at 2:19 pm
By some of the comments, there seems to be some confusion. Constitutional Carry does not equal Open Carry. It will still be Concealed Carry just without the required permit. Florida only allows for Open Carry for hunting/fishing/camping/range and I suppose inside of your own curtilage. Otherwise, concealing your weapon the public standard.
I’m doubtful most current CCW permit holders will not continue to maintain their permits if Constitutional Carry goes into effect.
CCW Permit holders can buy a gun and walk out the same day with their purchase. Non-Permit holder must wait 3 business days, which by Florida definitions, usually turns out to be a week.
Holding a current CCW permit has a significant benefit if you are a frequent gun purchaser.
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