Historic City News has editorialized for some time over what we see as government overreach in the process of permitting Florida citizens to carry concealed weapons. There seems no reason to intrude on a Constitutional right that applies to every man or woman, regardless of race, gender, creed, or background.
Under Florida’s current law, residents must undergo firearms training and clear a background check when applying for a concealed weapons permit. About half of the states currently have some form of “permit-less carry” law on the books.
“Florida led the nation in allowing concealed carry and that extends today as we remove the government permission slip to exercise a constitutional right,” House Speaker Paul Renner (R) announced Monday at a Tallahassee press conference. “Anybody that is a gun owner and uses guns knows that safety comes first. The permit and all aspects of that permit will go away.”
At issue is HB 543, also referred to by supporters as the “constitutional carry” bill. Florida lawmakers have put forth a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons without licenses, additional training, or background checks if approved in March when the legislative session begins.
The bill in its current form would allow individuals to carry a concealed, legally licensed weapon or firearm, but would not change current laws regulating the purchase of a gun. While it is newly minted Speaker Renner who is introducing the House Bill, Governor Ron DeSantis has publicly pushed the legislature to pass an open carry law during past sessions. Republicans currently have a super-majority and early polling indicates that the proposal will likely pass.
As expected, state Democrats opposed the legislation, saying that it would result in more gun violence.
“You are not making our communities, our schools, or any other places safer with this untrained carry bill,” State Representative Christine Hunschofsky told the Associated Press. She was the mayor of Parkland when a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student fatally shot 17 other students and faculty in 2018.
Members of the Florida Sheriffs Association made an appearance Monday to lobby their organization’s support for the bill. According to a report published by the Crime Prevention Research Center, Florida is the state with the most concealed carry permit holders in the nation with 2.57 million.