Gov. DeSantis quietly signs permitless carry measure

There was no ceremony, as hard-liners pushed for open carry.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has quietly signed permitless carry legislation. The measure eliminates a requirement for Floridians to obtain a license to carry a concealed gun.

The Legislature reports the bill (HB 543) was signed at 8:15 a.m. Monday morning. Fox News first reported the bill had become law, but the article contained no statement from DeSantis. The Governor also did not post any social media announcing his signature.

Photographs were provided to Fox News by the National Rifle Association, an organization that had representatives at a small signing in DeSantis’ office.

While the legislation had been touted as constitutional carry and delivering on a campaign promise by the Governor, the lack of fanfare around its signing may show the legislation came short of DeSantis’ expectations.

The new law will take effect July 1, and end any requirement for those wanting to carry handguns to undergo a special class to obtain a permit.

Groups like the NRA praised the expansion of gun rights.

“The NRA applauds Florida for becoming the 26th state to adopt the vital Constitutional Carry legislation. This NRA-spearheaded initiative empowers Floridians to exercise their Second Amendment rights without undue bureaucratic barriers, affirming the fundamental right to self-defense,” NRA-ILA Interim Executive Director Randy Kozuch told Fox News.

But hard-line Second Amendment activists have criticized the bill for falling short of open carry. Many, in fact, had encouraged DeSantis to reject the legislation.

“The Governor is weak if he cannot even get his own supermajority Legislature to add part of his agenda, which is open carry, to the permitless carry bill,” said gun rights activist Matt Collins.

“It’s embarrassing for him, it’s failed leadership and it hurts his chances in the upcoming Presidential primary. How will he get Congress to advance his agenda when he becomes President if he can’t even get a simple open carry provision (which currently exists in 47 other states) added to a pro-gun bill? Will he let Mitch McConnell steamroll him the same way that Kathleen Passidomo has?”

Groups like Young Americans for Liberty confronted Rep. Chuck Brannan, the Macclenny Republican who sponsored the permitless carry measure, at his own home while distributing flyers demanding open carry.

DeSantis, though, always signaled he would sign the bill. But he also said he would call a Special Session for an open carry bill if he can find the votes.

Leadership, particularly in the Senate, has shown reluctance to take up open carry legislation. Senate President Passidomo has leaned heavily on the advice of the Florida Sheriffs Association, which endorsed permitless carry but has opposed open carry.

Hours after the bill was signed, Passidomo sent out a release praising the bill.

“I stand with Governor DeSantis, Speaker (Paul) Renner, and Senator (Jay) Collins, decorated members of our military, who along law enforcement leaders from across the state, agree that eliminating the need for a concealed weapons license in the state of Florida will help more Floridians better protect themselves and their families,” Passidomo said.

“This comprehensive legislation ensures our laws respect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Floridians while at the same time incorporating valuable tools recommended by law enforcement that will increase the safety of our schools and communities.”

Meanwhile, Democrats remain livid at any expansion of gun legislation regardless.

“This morning, Gov. DeSantis quietly, unceremoniously, and with zero pomp and circumstance, signed the Permitless Carry bill into law,” tweeted Rep. Dan Daley, a Coral Springs Democrat. South Florida’s community was struck in 2018 by the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Daley’s alma mater, and he pushed unsuccessfully for several restrictions to be included in the new law.

He said it’s no shock DeSantis signed the bill without ceremony.

“I can’t say I’m surprised by the way it was done considering even the Governor must know how wildly unpopular this bill is with Floridians,” Daley posted. “We, as a state, are now less safe and have the Governor and Republicans in Tallahassee to thank.”

Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, a Parkland Democrat who was Mayor at the time of the shooting, said the Legislature could make improvements to the law like expanding universal background checks or improving gun storage requirements.

“Our goal isn’t to take guns from responsible gun owners,” she said. “It’s to make sure those accessing guns are responsible gun owners.”

But Collins, the Senate sponsor, said he felt honored to carry the bill.

“Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, here in the free state of Florida, government will not get in the way of law-abiding Americans who want to defend themselves and their families,” the Tampa Republican said.

“I’ve been blessed to serve shoulder to shoulder with brave men and women willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our constitutional freedoms. I’ve also been deployed to countries where oppressed people have lived their entire lives under tyrannical regimes with no ability to safeguard their loved ones. We have an obligation to respect their sacrifice by protecting our God-given and Constitutional rights here at home.”

Democrats, though, slammed the bill and said the fact the Governor did not hold a public ceremony — but did invite the NRA — proved telling.

“Hiding behind closed doors and standing shoulder to shoulder with the NRA, Ron DeSantis just signed legislation that could make it easier for criminals to carry guns,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison.

“DeSantis knows this legislation could be dangerous for Florida families and that’s why he signed this bill with none of his usual produced fanfare. Make no mistake: DeSantis’s unabashed chase for the 2024 MAGA base has proven how extreme he is willing to go to boost his national ambitions, even if it means ignoring pleas from some law enforcement officials and putting the gun lobby over Floridians.”

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].


  • Pill Mill Bamboozler Bill McFired

    April 3, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Nothing like open carry to the next mass shooting. Shooters feed the corrupt and inhumane concentration camps in Florida. Money for rural sub-apes. Hell of a way to make a living.

  • JD

    April 3, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    “What is good for thee, but not me”

    Make concealed carry legal where lawmakers meet. If they are making laws they don’t have to abide by, they are dicators and scared.

    Vote them out.

    Shameful and pathetic.

  • Darnell A. Hobbs

    April 3, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    In today’s America, if you see somebody carrying a gun openly in public, it’s a safe assumption they are about to commit another mass murder.

    Defend your life. Shoot anybody you see open carrying first, before they can shoot you.

    Florida law has set the precedent that this is perfectly good and legal. Stand your ground.

    • Paul Q. Public

      April 3, 2023 at 1:18 pm

      Pretty ignorant statement. If you draw a firearm and you shoot at a person that happens to be simply open carrying. You will be arrested at the very least. The most likely scenario is that you will go to jail for either attempted murder or 2nd Degree Murder. If a prosecutor can tie you to this post, then it would be upgraded to 1st Degree Murder.

  • It's Complicated

    April 3, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    The bill the Governor signed in NOT about open carry.

    All this hand-wringing is truly misplaced, because this law will change nothing.

    Persons who could have legally obtained a license to conceal carry a weapon will now be able to do that without a license (and sans the near-worthless class they were required to take to obtain the license). Those persons prohibited from obtaining the license will (STILL) be committing a crime if they choose to conceal carrying a weapon.

  • Ocean Joe

    April 3, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    It will give the funeral industry a shot in the arm.

Comments are closed.


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