New bill aims to make Florida 26th ‘constitutional carry’ state

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:


A new bill proposes to make Florida the 26th constitutional carry state, eliminating the need to get a license and pass a firearm safety course to carry a gun.

If House Bill 543 passes, Floridians would no longer need a license to carry a concealed firearm, nor the safety training that goes with it. All you would need is to carry a picture ID with you whenever you are carrying a gun and be prepared to show it to law enforcement. Supporters refer to this policy as constitutional carry.

You would still have to meet the same criteria as you would if you did need a license: You need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, at least 21 years old, free of felony convictions or convictions for crimes related to controlled substances within a three-year period, and you can’t have been found mentally or physically unfit. Concealed weapons will still be prohibited at places like schools and athletic events, and residents will still not be allowed to carry guns in the open. This proposal has started quite a bit of controversy.

“This bill is a big step to help the average law-abiding citizen to keep from having to go through the hoops of getting a permit from the government to carry their weapons,” said Republican Rep. Chuck Brannan of Florida’s 10th District. “It is also not going to change who can and cannot carry a gun. People that are prohibited now will still be prohibited.”

“It’s dangerous,” said Democratic Rep. Fentrice Driskell, Florida House Minority Leader. “It’s unnecessary. Law enforcement doesn’t want this, but I am sure criminals do. In reality, it’s actually soft on crime: Bad guys don’t need to justify carrying a weapon now. He doesn’t need to prove that he’s carrying it legally at all.”

Lawmakers will consider the bill during the legislative session that begins on March 7.

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