New legislation filed on Monday would allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, and other lawmakers announced House Bill 543, which would allow weapons and firearms without a license for concealment.
Under the proposed bill, Floridians would no longer need to apply for a license for concealed carry.
Supporters say it’s critical to put guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, while critics say it is dangerous.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he would sign such legislation into law.
“We need to make sure that we put guns in the hands of law-abiding men and women who have the right to defend themselves and defend others,” Renner said.
Renner made it clear the state is moving away from the requirement that’s been on the books since 1987.
A new bill is sure to pass with a GOP supermajority in the Legislature.
It would allow concealed carry of firearms without a license, continue the Concealed Carry Program to provide ease of travel between Florida and other states that allow concealed carry, and maintain current open carry restrictions.
The owner of AW Peterson Gun Shop in Mt. Dora says permits are unnecessary because he says the background checks are virtually identical.
“The background checks, the requirements all the same. It’ll be the same honest people and the other states that have done this have had no problems. So that’s why we’re all excited about seeing this happen,” Carey Baker said.
Supporters point to shootings like the one at an Indiana mall last July, in which an armed civilian fatally shot the gunman.
Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Brandon Wolf called the new bill lawless.
“This is a dangerous endorsement of violence in a state, by the way, that has, in many ways, has, you know, become synonymous with gun violence in this country,” Wolf said.
Some customers we talked with said while they like the idea of permitless carry, they do think the concealed carry permitting process had a benefit in, with the training, people understood where they could and could not bring a firearm.