TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Floridians will be able to carry concealed firearms without a permit under a bill signed Monday by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, giving the governor another legislative victory as he prepares to run for president.
The new law allows anyone in Florida who can legally own a gun to carry one without a permit. It means that carrying concealed weapons in public will no longer require training or a background check. It goes into effect on July 1.
The debate over the legislation was divided along political lines, with Republicans arguing that law-abiding citizens have the right to carry firearms and defend themselves. Most people, they say, will still want to get a permit because it will allow them to carry concealed weapons in states that have reciprocal agreements and to buy guns without a waiting period.
Democrats, however, argue that the new law will only make Florida more dangerous, citing mass shootings such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando and the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
A concealed weapons permit is held by nearly 3 million Floridians. While a background check and three-day waiting period are still required when purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not required for private transactions or weapon exchanges.
DeSantis has stated that he believes Florida should go even further and allow open carry of firearms. While some lawmakers have advocated for open carry, it does not appear that such legislation will be passed this session.
The bill was signed five years ago by then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, after 17 students and faculty members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Under DeSantis, the tide has shifted back toward expanding rather than restricting gun rights.