Florida House passes gun bill allowing concealed carry without a permit
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 1/30/23-Rep. Chuck Brannan III, R-Macclenny, at podium, endorses House Bill 543 to eliminate the need for Floridians to have a concealed weapons license when they carry a firearm out of view, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. If approved, House Bill 543 would permit Floridians who are currently qualified to obtain a Concealed Weapons License to carry a concealed gun without a license. Sen. Jay Collins, R-Tampa, has filled a similar bill in the Senate. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

A Senate companion bill is ready to be heard on the full floor.

The Florida House has passed a permitless carry bill that could dispose of Florida’s requirements for licenses to carry concealed firearms.

“This bill today recognizes that while the government always has a duty to protect its citizens, its citizens have a right to protect themselves,” said Rep. Chuck Brannan, a Macclenny Republican, who sponsored the legislation (HB 543).

The chamber voted 76-32 in favor of the bill on a largely party-line vote. Rep. Vicki Lopez, a Miami Republican, broke with her party and voted against the bill. Eleven lawmakers did not vote.

The legislation has proven to be one of the most controversial this Legislative Session. The bill has drawn sharp attacks both from Democrats upset at the removal of one more safeguard limiting access to deadly weapons, and from Second Amendment hardliners who hoped supermajorities in the Legislature would approve open carry legislation.

Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, a St. Petersburg Democrat, lamented the move to drop concealed permit registrations. She listed communities that suffered mass shootings over the past 30 years, emphasizing that both the Parkland and Pulse shootings occurred in Florida and prompted evaluations of gun laws.

But she took particular issue with the bill’s consideration as conservatives make hay over a number of cultural issues from drag shows to the books on library shelves.

“Miss me on all this other legislation that if I don’t agree with it, I’m not protecting children,” she said. “If you vote for this bill as it is now, I have to question your belief in protecting children.”

But the gun rights legislation has proven equally controversial on the Right.

Rep. Mike Beltran, a South Riverview Republican filed an open carry amendment earlier this week but withdrew it before the legislation was debated on the House floor.

“Prohibiting open carry is more arbitrary and provides fewer benefits than the licensing requirement that we are rightly repealing today,” Beltran said.

But he ultimately supported the legislation.

“We shouldn’t be having the government issuing a permit or not issuing a permit and deciding whether you can carry a firearm,” he said. He also suggested talking about mass shootings largely distracted from the conversation about the right to carry, and permitting never made a difference in individuals intentionally committing violent crimes.

Many Republican lawmakers who said they would prefer a more ambitious bill still counted permitless carry as an important win for gun owners.

“I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think it goes far enough,” said Rep. Chase Tramont, a Port Orange Republican. But he said to vote against permitless carry because it doesn’t include open carry rights was like a basketball player refusing to take a two-point shot because he wanted to sink a three-pointer.

Some Democrats in the chamber did see some bright spots. Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Miami Democrat, works as a criminal defense lawyer. She said too often, she has seen clients who faced charges despite having permits.

“I don’t think permitless carry should be allowed but I will take advantage of the intent of this bill and what it will allow my community,” she said.

Several members discussed recent violent incidents. Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, represents a district that includes Pulse. But her sister, lobbyist Ida Eskamani, was also recently robbed at gunpoint.

“I want to make sure that the right people who are supposed to have access to guns are the ones who do while ensuring those that are not supposed to don’t,” she said.

Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, an Ocoee Democrat, represents the Pine Hills community where high-profile shootings claimed the lives of 38-year-old Natacha Augustin, broadcast news reporter Dylan Lyons and 8-year-old T’yonna Major in a single day. Keith Melvin Moses was arrested on Feb. 22 for the killings.

“Why are we making it easier for senseless gun violence?” she asked.

A Senate companion bill (SB 150) sponsored by Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican, has already cleared all committee stops in the upper chamber.

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].


  • Sean

    March 24, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    Perhaps we should make shooting someone offensively, illegal..oh, what? It already is and people still do it? Let’s make it double, or triple illegal.

    • Angela

      March 24, 2023 at 8:56 pm

      He got to love how the Democrats are trying to control a citizens right to bear arms when they aren’t funded and released terrorists terrorists.. on top of that Joe Biden is making American citizens financially responsible for the Ukrainian war and wants to give them military weapons and tanks and at the same time releases Russia’s most dangerous arms dealer.. and this was after he left billions of dollars of weapons and technology in Afghanistan just a few short months ago… The Democrats have no right lecturing American citizens on firearms concealed carry.. maybe if the school’s concentrating on teaching coping skills instead of f****** kids up with drag shows and confusing them about their sexuality we wouldn’t have so many of them bitter angry and shooting their friends..

      • Get Outside

        March 25, 2023 at 8:34 am

        What? You need to get out of your echo chamber. Drag shows at schools? You have obviously taken the bait of the culture war propagandists. Try to infuse some additional sources of information into your life. Talk with people outside of your own house or your own church. Get some perspective. Good luck.

      • Penny Howland

        March 25, 2023 at 7:46 pm

        Oh Angela, I don’t know where to start….who are “they” who are confusing kids and bitter and angry due to that??!! Who have you been listening to?

      • El Negro Cubano

        March 26, 2023 at 9:32 pm

        I am really sad because as you know anyone can be killed by a stray bullet, any member of our families. There is enough violence, we do not need anymore. This is not a democrat or republican problem, this is everyone problem. You have no idea how many individuals are out there in need of medication and these individuals will be wearing guns. What happen the day they do not have their medication or the medication is not doing the intended effect?
        Not everything is politics, Please, start thinking before issuing an opinion. Did you go to school? Did you really pass high school or the teachers helped you?

      • Andrew Linko

        March 27, 2023 at 4:41 pm

        It’s truly amazing how the GOP followers are way too stupid to know the NRA strokes fear into each of you, and especially the Gun Manufacturers on the NRA board. So you follow the Russian pied piper, buy everything around and watched prices skyrocket on ammunition and weapons, all the while why supply far out exceeds demand! Too stupid to know basic economics!

      • Jack Frost

        March 31, 2023 at 3:16 pm

        This comment just shows how factually inaccurate most of you are and seem quite happy with spreading misinformation.

        You have to live in this fantasy world because facts and reality do not back up any of your claims. Its why having any real discussion about important topics cannot happen in this country. You love to lie because its easier than dealing with the truth.

      • Jack Frost

        March 31, 2023 at 3:24 pm

        Angela, which I doubt is your real name, most likely you’re a male faking being a woman online to soften your extremist views. But moving on, thank you for this topic salad of nonsense. You were able to string together every bit of nonsense those two brain cells could smash together to come up with. Bonus points for including Ukraine, somehow.

        You’d be dangerous if you were any more intelligent.

  • Michael D'Auria

    March 25, 2023 at 7:05 am

    When does it take effect?

  • Michael D'Auria

    March 25, 2023 at 7:06 am

    When will this take effect?

    • It’s Complicated

      April 1, 2023 at 2:28 pm

      July 1, 2023

  • Blair Spencer

    March 25, 2023 at 8:07 am

    My thoughts, why place more guns on the streets? Do we not have enough violence? I do believe we have a right to protect ourselves, but we all know that if this passes, guns will get into the wrong hands and there will be more deaths. Is this our objective? I have never been threatened however if that should ever happen to me then would I seriously think about purchasing a weapon to protect myself? Flip the quarter!!

    • Linda Johnston

      March 26, 2023 at 8:39 am

      once the threat is there it’s too late to go looking for a gun. the bad guys are already carrying illegal. weapons, i just want a fighting chance

      • Jack Frost

        March 31, 2023 at 3:18 pm

        Oh please, you do not want or need a fighting chance! This isn’t the wild wild west, which, incidentally had more gun laws on the books than current day America.

        Why do you people continue to fall for the same pro-gun lies every time?

        No wonder an entire party can be captured by trump, none of y’all bother to actually look at the facts, just fall in line like the good sheep you are.

  • Tom S Gottshalk

    March 25, 2023 at 8:11 am

    This is not, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. It is unregulated chaos.

    • It’s a Trap!

      March 25, 2023 at 8:38 am

      This has nothing to do with freedom, as you correctly pointed out. This is a payoff to the gun lobby who pump millions and millions of dollars into the hands of these grifters. Just wait until they find out that there is a strong movement now for minorities and LGBTQ+ to arm and train. It’s going to be Ron Regan in Cali all over again as they suddenly become interested in gun control because of who has them.

      • FUBAR

        March 25, 2023 at 7:26 pm

        What does removing the requirement for a permit to conceal carry have to do you arming and training with a firearm? You don’t have to have this permit to this. Any person, who is not a felon, can get a firearm, and go to a firing range to train. This bill does not keep anyone from doing this.

        • Linda Johnston

          March 26, 2023 at 8:42 am

          you cannot buy a gun if you are a legal card-carrying pot smoker.

      • Penny Howland

        March 25, 2023 at 7:50 pm

        That is possible and I think it be so pretty hilarious when the “libs” and other not very favorite groups start to really arm themselves…that will be interesting. I’ll be looking forward to the “stand your ground” arguments there.

        • FUBAR

          March 25, 2023 at 8:13 pm

          Everyone, regardless of sub-group or political affiliation, has the right to protect themselves as a Floridian. The stand your ground law applies equally to a person who is attacked by a right-wing extremist as much as someone by a left-wing extremist. We both know that both of these groups of extremists are a small percentage and that the law actually protects a person from more common occurrences, such as assault, robbery, rape, home invasions, etc. This ensures that a Floridian, who protects themselves and the assailant is severely or fatally injured, does not find themselves in prison for many years due to the effects of their actions.

          • Jack Frost

            March 31, 2023 at 3:20 pm

            You wrote: The stand your ground law applies equally to a person who is attacked by a right-wing extremist as much as someone by a left-wing extremist.

            If you truly believe everyone is treated equal under the law I’ve got some prime swamp-front property to sell you.

            You people are in a fantasyland it prove it with comments like this. COME BACK TO REALITY, PLEASE!

    • FUBAR

      March 25, 2023 at 7:12 pm

      There is another part to this that I’m sure you intentionally left out. Shall I finish it for you? “; the right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms Shall not be infringed.” Notice that it does not say the right of the Militia but the people. Do you honestly believe that someone who is willing to commit a crime using a gun really cares if they have a concealed carry permit?

  • Diane

    March 25, 2023 at 8:23 am

    Shame on all who voted for this. I hope the next mass shooting is in your neighborhood.

    • Shena

      March 25, 2023 at 9:18 am

      You sound so stupid saying something like that!! That’s the ignorance that is wrong with the world!! I hate to break it to you if someone wants to shoot someone they are going to shoot them!! Whatever bubble you live in!!! If you think that law is going to have any effect on it your as stupid as your comment. You obviously have no clue of how many people carry guns risking their freedom just to keep their families safe when out. Wishing that on peoples neighbors if they voted for it!! I hope you stub your big toe Diane!!

    • Angela

      March 25, 2023 at 8:38 pm

      Why would you wish that on ANYONE, regardless of their beliefs. Criminals are just that criminals. They don’t care how they get a gun. If you think requiring a concealed carry is going to stop a criminal then you living someones pipe dream.

      Wishing someone else’s child harm that has nothing to even do with this conversation, SHAME ON YOU.

    • Linda Johnston

      March 26, 2023 at 8:45 am

      shame on you, at least maybe the next one will be stopped by a gun carrier

      • Jack Frost

        March 31, 2023 at 3:21 pm

        Has this happened yet? If so, frequently? NOT REALLY!

        But keep on lying Linda, thats all you got! That and a whole pile of DEAD CHILDREN

    • cassandra

      March 26, 2023 at 11:13 am

      If it’s definitely, no-doubt-about-it, going to happen… it’s gotta happen somewhere..

      These politicians love consequences—–for WOMEN. They’re among the many MEN who believe they have a god-given right to control women’s bodies and lives. You know, the ones who say things like: “Deal with the consequences. Take responsibility. You knew the risks.”…

      So if the maniac picks their neighborhood I won’t cry too much; I’ll just stand around shouting helpful things like: “Keep your legs closed.”

  • Acb75

    March 25, 2023 at 10:32 am

    The guns on the streets, only going to go whit more stupid dead, like the one were and old killed another old man in the line to buy a lottery ticket, that argument could be resolved with maybe a fight, but with a gun involved, one is dead and the other one in jail, if you think that carry a weapon on the street is going to save you, think again, know that robbers know that you can carry a gun, they are going to be more willing to shoot you and rob you later, why they should risk and weren’t talking about the kids that take the family gun to play or to go the school, if you think this is to protect you, you are wrong, this is just about money, they don’t care about your safety, they live in private zones.

  • woked joker

    March 25, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Please give all Tramp supporters an AK paid for by Florida taxpayers and ask the FWCC to expand the season and bag limits on all dumb animals? And pass a law giving women the right to bare breasts as well as arms! Please don’t forget that raped teen girls should be required to open carry their rapist’s seed belly to full term!!! Freedumb!!!!

  • Ocean Joe

    March 25, 2023 at 10:55 am

    There are always at least two sides to every dispute.
    Left out are the consequences for improper use of a gun.
    Florida may be a stand your ground state, but pulling a gun and pointing it at someone is generally Aggravated Assault with a Firearm punishable by a mandatory minimum 3 year prison term. I hope all my friends remember that. You may be able to argue self defense, or defense of others, or get the charges dropped to improper display, or if you’re lucky law enforcement will decline to prosecute you, but otherwise get ready for an expensive ride.

    Florida is rife with examples: the guy who shot the kids over loud music, the retired cop who shot the guy in the movie theater over a phone, etc., the Tallahassee bigshot who lost a shoot out he started to the Prius driver, and on and on.

  • Ian

    March 25, 2023 at 11:20 am

    So Desantis wants everyone to be able to carry a gun but also requires metal detectors at all his events to prevent just that in contradiction to State law. What’s good enough for you isn’t good enough for him.

  • Sandra Hall

    March 25, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    How reckless can these folks be, seem like we dont have enough Shooting going on in Florida. of course this this manic Governor will quickly sign the bill into law. They will all wake up when someone in their family get hurt by a gun

  • Andrew Linko

    March 26, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Funny how ‘Freedoms’ do not include being able to carry arms in the State government buildings? Gives a new meaning to hypocrisy, or is it just banning their tourism members?

  • C. Santana

    March 28, 2023 at 10:34 am

    I am not against concealed carry, but I feel that if we must have a license to drive a car, we should definitely be required to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The same way they make sure you know the basics of operating a vehicle, I think everyone should have some sort of safety training to carry a concealed weapon. Not to say the requirements are extensive right now, nor that a felon will not find a way to obtain an illegal weapon, but I also feel that it should not be made so simple for felons to carry. Also, while I am not opposed to teachers getting to conceal carry, I don’t understand why they cannot just apply for a permit. I think the only people this benefits are the people who would otherwise not qualify for a permit which are exactly the people we do not need to be carrying concealed weapons. Make it make sense!

  • Andrew T. Linko

    March 31, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    Love your guns more than your children!

Comments are closed.


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