A bill allowing people to conceal-carry without a state permit is making its way through subcommittees in the Florida capitol before being handed off to lawmakers to vote.
Under the proposal, people eligible to buy a gun would no longer have to get a permit. The requirements for purchasing a firearm are still the same.
Political experts say this is a bill Governor Ron DeSantis has wanted to see passed for a while.
The constitution’s second amendment protects every American’s right to keep and bear arms, but the state has the right to make rules.
“The legislature has required regulation in the past, has required people to take a training course and to apply and get that permit in order to do it. That’s been constitutional,” said political scientist Aubrey Jewett.
Florida House Bill 543 aims to take that regulation away. The concealed carry permit would no longer be necessary to bring a gun to places where you’re legally allowed, and neither would the class currently required to get Florida’s concealed carry permit.
Twenty-five other states have similar laws, and Jewett believes Florida will soon be number 26. “In the sense of can Democrats or people who don’t want this, can they stop it? I doubt it.”
Why? Republicans have a supermajority in the Florida House and Senate, and Governor DeSantis wants the bill to become law.
“I think it’s one more attempt by Governor DeSantis to appeal to a national Republican audience, one way for him to separate himself amongst a whole bunch of other people who may run for president,” Jewett said.
Shoot Center General Manager Cam Acorn said if the governor gets his way, people will have to understand the elimination of the concealed carry permit does not eliminate their responsibilities as gun owners.
“I mean, they’re going to have to go on their own to be a self-study for that knowledge. Because, unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said Acron.
Firing a gun is something John Rick has done countless times. “I was prior military.” So when the time came for him to leave the service and get his conceal carry permit, it was easy.
“I didn’t have to go through the course. So I came back with my DD-214. And all I had to do was apply, and they hand it to me within like a week,” said Rick.
Most people aren’t like Rick. They have to take a class to get a concealed carry permit.
“I think the class is good for education purposes. I think they could expand it and include more practical application,” said Hot Rod Jane.
That class could be optional for everyone if the governor gets his way.
“There’s really no change to how you can carry, so it’s not an open carry law,” said Acron.
There’s no change to who buys a gun or how you legally get one. Acorn hopes people’s education on guns doesn’t change either. “I want to stress, for a lot of people, that they need to know these laws,” said Acorn. “So they’re either going to have to do their own due diligence or learn the hard way.”
The laws where you can bring a gun won’t change. You still can’t bring a gun on a school campus, to any school function, a courthouse, a police station, a polling place, or an airport.
The three-day waiting period for a gun will also remain in place if the bill is passed. Training courses will still be offered, just not mandatory. You can take those classes at places like Shoot Center and receive a certificate for passing the course.