Floridians will be able to carry concealed guns without a permit under a bill the Legislature sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. The governor, who is considering a presidential run, has said the issue is one of his priorities.
The Senate passed the bill on a 27-13 vote. It will allow anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida to carry one without a permit. It means training and a background check will not be needed for people to carry concealed guns in public.
The arguments over the legislation were divided on political lines, with Republicans saying law-abiding citizens have a right to carry guns and protect themselves and Democrats saying a state that has seen horrific mass shootings such as the Parkland high school and Pulse nightclub massacres will become even more dangerous.
Nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapons permit. While a background check and a three-day waiting period will still be required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not required for private transactions or exchanges of weapons. People can still obtain permits to avoid the purchase waiting period and to carry in states with reciprocal agreements.
DeSantis has said he thinks Florida should go even further and allow people to openly carry guns. While some lawmakers have pushed for open carry, it doesn’t appear the Legislature will pass such legislation.