Florida GOP lawmakers propose bill to eliminate concealed carry permit
Florida lawmakers have put forth a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without licenses, additional training or background checks, House Speaker Paul Renner (R) announced Monday.
The big picture: About half of the U.S. states currently have some form of a permitless carry law on the books. Florida would become the latest to allow people to carry a gun without a permit if the bill passes.
Details: HB 543, also referred to as the "constitutional carry" bill by its supporters, allows individuals to carry a concealed, legally-licensed weapon or firearm.
- Under Florida's current law, residents must undergo firearms training and clear a background check when applying for a concealed weapons permit.
But, but, but: The bill would not change current laws regulating the purchase of a gun.
State of play: The proposal will likely pass in March when the legislative session begins.
- Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has publically pushed the legislature to pass an open carry law, and Republicans currently have a super-majority.
- The Florida Sheriffs Association also shared its support for the bill Monday, even though several others oppose it.
What they're saying: "Anybody that is a gun owner and uses guns knows that safety comes first. That’s important, but it’s not required," Renner said at a Tallahassee press conference. "The permit and all aspects of that permit will go away.
- "What we’re about here today is a universal right that applies to each and every man or woman regardless of race, gender, creed or background,” Renner added.
- “Florida led the nation in allowing for concealed carry and that extends today as we remove the government permission slip... to exercise a constitutional right,” he said.
The other side: State Democrats opposed the legislation, saying that it would result in more gun violence.
- State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D), who was the mayor of Parkland when a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student fatally shot 17 students and faculty in 2018, called the proposal an "untrained carry" bill.
- "You are not making our communities, our schools or any places safer with this," she said, per AP.
By the numbers: Florida has the most concealed carry permit holders at 2.57 million, per a report published by the Crime Prevention Research Center.