Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday permitting residents to carry a firearm -as long as it is concealed- without the need for a state permit. The rule eliminates the requirement that a person must have a concealed carry permit in order to carry a firearm in public.
Previously, the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the state Congress. In the House of Representatives, it was supported with 76 votes in favor and 32 against. In the Senate, it was supported with 27 votes in favor and only 13 against.
A law for "public safety"
HB 543 - which its promoters call "public safety" - will go into effect on July 1. As of this date, anyone carrying concealed weapons in public will not require special training or background checks to do so. The carrier will be required to have valid identification and be able to provide it in the event that an officer requests it.
Florida state law still prohibits the open carry of firearms. Therefore, those who are in possession of a weapon must keep it out of sight.
"Bearing arms is a constitutional matter"
DeSantis said in a statement after signing the law that "carrying guns is a constitutional matter that is on the books." Last April, when he promised the law would go into effect, he defended the bill by calling it "constitutional carry" in reference to the Second Amendment, which supports Americans' right to own and bear arms:
You do not need a government permission slip in order to exercise your Second Amendment rights.
DeSantis on "constitutional carry" and rolling back gun regulations: "I'm for everything, I've said that from the beginning." pic.twitter.com/9dwnEbhkFk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 27, 2023
Florida is the 26th state to approve concealed carry of handguns
The passage of the law makes Florida the 26th state to eliminate the requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit.
In 2021, Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and Utah enacted laws allowing permitless carry. In 2022, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio also did so.
Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Nebraska are other states where congressmen have proposed permitless carry legislation in the last two years. However, they have not yet been approved.