‘Open Carry’ measure now off the table, disappointing Second Amendment advocates

Florida gun rights activists will have to settle for, at most, permitless carry this Legislative Session.

Less than 24 hours after a GOP lawmaker filed an amendment to gun legislation that could potentially allow open carrying of firearms in Florida has been withdrawn, disappointing Second Amendment advocates.

That leaves the gun legislation, a permitless carry bill, to proceed to a vote before the full Florida House of Representatives later this week.

That bill, HB 543, would repeal the requirement that Floridians who carry a concealed weapon must get a license through the state. It would also mean Floridians would not have to take a gun safety and training course.

Luis Valdes, the state director of Gun Owners of America, told the Phoenix that he was disappointed that the open carry amendment, which his organization has been advocating for, will no longer be considered.

“It comes down to legislative leadership,” Valdes said.

The amendment showed up Tuesday afternoon, when Hillsborough County Republican Mike Beltran filed the open carry amendment, electrifying gun rights advocates who have been pushing for more than a month for ‘open carry’ to be included in the permitless carry bill.

But Beltran withdrew the amendment shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I think it’s good policy, but this wasn’t the right vehicle or the right time,” Beltran told the Phoenix. “I think that we can try to lock in permitless and then where we can get this another time.”

House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo told reporters in Tallahassee two weeks ago that the permitless carry bill was fine just as it was crafted, without the open carry provision.

And Passidomo was even more direct in saying that she opposed the open carry provision, in part because the Florida Sheriffs Association didn’t support the measure.

Gun rights advocates have criticized the permitless (or as they prefer the term “constitutional carry”) 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).

Curiously absent during much of the public discussion about open carry has been Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has said twice publicly when asked that he supports the open carry provision and would sign such a bill into law, if the Legislature sent such a bill to his desk.

That somewhat passive stance has alienated some gun rights advocates like Matt Collins. He told the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee earlier this month that DeSantis looked “impotent” in failing to get GOP leadership to rally behind open carry.

“I like Gov. DeSantis, but quite frankly, the inability to get open carry included in this bill is embarrassing for him,” Collins said. “It’s failed leadership and it’s weak. And finally, it begs the question that if the governor cannot get a very friendly Legislature to add open carry to this bill, then how do we think he’s going to do trying to convince Congress to act on anything if he becomes president?”

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix is a news and opinion outlet focused on government and political news coverage within the state of Florida.


  • Mark Tilham

    March 22, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    Collins and other open carry advocates need to realize that a majority of the tourists who fund our state and its citizens don’t want to see guns on display. This is not the wild west.

    • Wayne

      March 23, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      Yeah, I think anything that might offend a tourist warrants 60 days in jail. Like moving out of an apartment and carrying your guns out to a moving truck. That’s illegal.

      That’s the only time I ever saw someone open carrying in the 70s and 80s when it was legal. Or I saw someone carry a rifle into a meeting where an organization was raffling it off. Or a shotgun in a rack in a pickup truck.

      Yeah, we can’t let that kind of craziness go unpunished. In a state with 2.4 million CCW holders, we can’t pretend guns are just a normal thing. Just let 2.4 million people continue walking a fine line between perfectly legal and 60 days in jail.

    • Michael

      March 24, 2023 at 1:12 pm

      Interesting take – since other states that have enacted open carry (in conjunction with constitutional/permitless carry) have not seen a decline in tourism. It’s time a more “mainstream” state help normalize this. People won’t stop flocking to Florida over “open carry”.

  • Billy Rotberg

    March 22, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    Well that’s fine. someone will step up and deliberately get arrested open carrying. Unlike the Norman case, it will be taken up by the supreme court and you will be defeated.

  • Earl Pitts American

    March 22, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    Goog evening America,
    Open carry puts one at a tactical disadvantage. You always hear about bad guys trying to grab a cops open cary gun. Concealed carry is best.
    Did you ever see James Bond open carry? #ell no.
    Concealed carry Florida will bring down crime. No doubt about it. If you gotta blast somebody you are better off doing it from concealed carry.
    I think misinformed citizens were thinking bad guys would leave them alone if they open carried.
    No Sir WRONG bad guys can spot a weak willed individual open carrying from 100 yards away and they will come for your gun and/or shoot you to get your gun. Its more effective to come frim a position of concealment if you ever need to use deadly force.
    So you are getting concealed carry without license fees…tell your legislators thank you.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Wayne

      March 23, 2023 at 12:38 pm

      That’s not the point. The point is right now a neighbor can get you locked up for walking a gun to your car if they can see it. I’ve been at a shooting range for a match, and seen shooters stepping outside to smoke. No one thinks about it, but once they’re outside the building in the common area, they’re open carrying in public and subject to arrest/prosecution. 60 days in jail.

      Open carry was legal in FL until 1987. How many people did you see doing it? You’re going to see it about as often as you see someone open carrying a knife, sword or machete.

      • Phaden

        March 24, 2023 at 8:39 am

        Dude, if a “responsible” gun owner can’t secure his firearm while going out for a smoke then he shouldn’t have one in the first place. Did he forget he had it? Too many clowns out there who think they’re John McLean, James Bond as another comment or not so eloquently put it. Concealed carry is enough. You don’t need to flash your guns everywhere you go. You’re not a badass as you think you are.

  • JBC

    March 23, 2023 at 12:49 am

    Texas enacted open carry along with permitless carry a few years ago. I just moved to Florida about 6 months ago. From the time the Texas law went into effect I never saw anyone open carrying, I do not do so myself, but I believe every American has the right to do so if he or she chooses.

  • Me

    March 23, 2023 at 5:59 am

    Florida used to be an open carry state and janet reno had it stop in 1987 i believe we need to go back as i believe not only that it will allow people to open carry but most people loke myself like to conceal but open carry wpuld protect me incase i reach overhead and my shirt or jacket get stuck on my firearm showing it.. under the law now i would get into trouble showing it by accident… hope you see my point.. “Constitution caryy MEANS open or concealed without lic.” So if we cant go with open then its no point in this “permitless carry”

    • Earl Pitts American

      March 23, 2023 at 6:45 am

      Good morning Me,
      Good post Me – keep in mind its step one. Now if Florida can resist electing a bunch of leftist politicians we will have your step two soon. Its like if you handed most people you know $200.00 for their birthday behind your back those ungratefull slobs would 8itch and moan that you did not give them more. Human nature my man, learn it, know it and your life will be much more happy
      Everyone just loves to 8itch and moan. But paitence is a virtue which will be rewarded.
      Thank you Me,
      Earl Pitts American

  • It’s Complicated

    March 23, 2023 at 7:33 am

    I spend a lot of time in rural parts of Georgia, which has open carry, and over the past 40-years have seen people exercising that right, twice.

    In the last paragraph of the article the Collins quote reveals that he needs a remedial civics lesson on the constitutional construct of ‘separation of powers.’

  • AM

    March 23, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    Republicans are so stingy and spineless to their voters meanwhile Democrats actually reward their voters and give them what they want.

  • Ralph

    March 24, 2023 at 7:49 am

    I think that Florida is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for residents and tourists alike. The sun and sand has run its course and although people are moving to Florida every day, they are also leaving every day. I can only imagine how comfortable everybody will be walking around in shorts and bathing suits with guns on their hips!

    • Phaden

      March 24, 2023 at 9:06 am

      You do understand that the majority of gun violence is committed by people who have illegally obtained firearms? They have their guns whether this bill passes or not. Please explain why, as a law abiding citizen, it is more dangerous for me to have one? Do I think every jabroni out there who doesn’t have a criminal record should carry? No! But where do you draw the line. And wearing a bathing suit? Really? If you see that, go to a different spot, because no gun owner worth his salt would do that.

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