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Despite the permitless carry bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier in April, 2023, many state attorney’s offices across Florida are still prosecuting those arrested for carrying concealed weapons and say they plan to continue doing so until July 1, when the law takes effect. Photo courtesy of Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Florida eliminates government-issued permits for concealed carry of firearms

Florida became the 26th U.S. state to enact a “constitutional carry” law, which authorizes individuals 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed weapon or firearm without a government-issued permit and without paying a fee. House Bill 543 is now of 27 similar laws in U.S. states that eliminated a licensing process for concealed weapons.

The licensing process for concealed weapons currently includes individuals undergoing criminal background checks to own a gun and completing firearms training courses. Concealed carry is defined as the act or practice of a concealed firearm in public or the legal right to do so. In spite of that, under the proposal, purchasers will still need to have a background check and a valid state identification and must display it upon demand of a law enforcement officer.

On March 30, the Florida Senate voted on the bill, which resulted in it moving forward with a 27-13 vote. The bill was then sent to Florida Gov. DeSantis where he signed it into law the morning of April 3. The law will officially go into effect on July 1.

“Constitutional carry is in the books,” DeSantis said in a news release.

The signing of this law has brought mixed emotions among the citizens of Florida. One side of the people feel that this law would further protect residents and their families from potential crimes and continue to advance their Second Amendment right.

“We thank Governor DeSantis for his support of self-defense and Second Amendment laws and for prioritizing the safety and security of Florida residents,” National Rifle Association- Institute for Legislative Action Interim Executive Director Randy Kozuch said in an interview with Fox News. “Today’s NRA victory inspires us to continue advocating for constitutional carry laws across the nation, ensuring the protection of Second Amendment rights for all Americans.”

The National Rifle Association is a gun rights advocacy group based in the United States. It praises Florida for adopting the “constitutional carry” law and believes that U.S. citizens should be able to freely exercise their Second Amendment right and this law further improves that.

“I do not really see any benefits in the passing of this bill,” junior Cianna Furton said. “While I do believe in the Second Amendment, I think in order for it to be safe there must be regulations, trainings and restrictions on who buys a gun.”

Many Floridians are also concerned with the passing and signing of this law into action; 77% of polled Floridians do not support the new law. Multiple groups that support gun control measures warned that this law would make Florida less safe.

I am concerned about gun safety as you no longer need a permit, and with permits come classes and additional background checks.

— English teacher Holly Van Tassl-Schuster

Democratic lawmakers are extremely concerned about the elimination of the firearm training requirement that is part of this law. This law does not mandate an individual to take a training course for firearms which Democratic lawmakers believe is very dangerous.

“Florida should be actively producing bills that deter the use and carry of firearms in any instance and put tighter restrictions on who can purchase them rather than implementing bills such as the constitutional carry bill,” sophomore Aidan Tau said.

The passing of this law has caused an array of feelings among Floridians. Many individuals believe that the adoption of this legislation will enhance the safety of people residing in the state, while others feel the passing of the law will cause disruption and safety issues.

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