Apr 4, 2023 - News

What permitless carry means for Florida and the nation

Illustration of a sun with the rays made from bullets.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law Monday that will allow people in Florida to carry concealed weapons without licenses or training.

Why it matters: With Florida, the permitless carry of a concealed weapon will be legal in more than half of the United States, Axios' Sareen Habeshian reports.

  • Gun laws are getting looser as the U.S. grapples with 130 mass shootings so far in 2023, per the Gun Violence Archive — meaning there have been more mass shootings than days this year.

Details: Under current law, residents must undergo firearms training, clear a background check and pay fees when applying for a concealed-carry license.

  • Starting July 1, Floridians will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a license if they meet the current requirements needed to obtain a permit, including not having been convicted of a felony or found guilty of a crime relating to controlled substances within a three-year period.

By the numbers: Nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapon permit, according to the state.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called DeSantis' signing of the bill "shameful."

  • "This is the opposite of common-sense gun safety," she wrote in a statement. "The people of Florida — who have paid a steep price for state and Congressional inaction on guns from Parkland to Pulse Nightclub to Pine Hills — deserve better."
  • House Democratic leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell of Tampa released a statement after the signing calling it part of the "Republican extremist agenda."

The other side: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who advised on the bill's school safety components, told the Tampa Bay Times the legislation has "nothing bad in it, and as far as I'm concerned."

Zoom out: The signing comes exactly a week after six people, including three 9-year-olds, were killed in a Nashville school shooting.

  • An Eventbrite page from a group that's hosted recent events with DeSantis shows the governor was scheduled to meet with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday in a Nashville suburb. But the event was postponed without explanation.
  • DeSantis' office and campaign declined Axios' requests for comment on the event, and the nonprofit that organized it could not be reached.

Meanwhile, March for our Lives, a gun safety advocacy group started by Parkland students after the shooting at their school in 2018, rallied Monday in Nashville.


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