TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A new bill announced in the State Capitol Monday morning would allow for lawful gun owners to carry concealed firearms in public without a concealed carry permit in Florida.
The announcement was expected, as Governor Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) have all endorsed this idea.
Supporters call it ‘constitutional carry’, but opponents argue it should be called ‘permitless carry’.
Speaker Renner announced the bill while joined by the Florida Sheriffs Association Monday.
“We need to make sure that we put guns in the hands of the good men and women, the law-abiding men and women, who have a right to defend themselves and defend others,” Renner said.
The bill only deals with concealed firearms, falling short of the so-called open carry policy that is often captured under the ‘constitutional carry’ umbrella.
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Still, gun safety advocates like Pulse Nightclub survivor Brandon Wolf, fear the bill will lead to an increase in gun violence.
“We’re talking about real people whose lives are being cut short every single day in this country because of our obsession with easy access to guns,” Wolf said.
State Representative and former Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky (D-Coconut Creek) noted the bill also removes required training to carry concealed currently in state law.
“This is not responsible. This is not making our community safer,” Hunschofsky said.
But Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey pushed back, making the case the legislation only stands to make it easier for law abiding citizens to protect themselves.
“Criminals don’t go get a permit. Not one of them. They don’t care about obeying the law. Our law-abiding citizens have that immediate right guarantee and the freedom to go protect themselves,” Ivey said.
With the backing of the Governor and legislative leaders this bill will likely find itself on a fast track.
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Whether it sees any substantive changes before crossing the finish line remains to be seen.