PARKLAND, FL. - The gun safety advocacy group March for Our Lives is opposed to a permitless carry bill allowing Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training. The bill, which has also advanced quickly in the Senate, is scheduled to be considered in the Florida House on Thursday.
The bill will allow a person to carry a concealed weapon without a license if they meet the current requirements for obtaining a permit, such as not having been convicted of a felony or a crime involving controlled substances within the past three years. Supporters of the bill argue that it ensures citizens have their right to self-defense without red tape, delays, or fees.
However, March for Our Lives and other gun safety advocates argue that the bill would worsen gun violence and undo years of progress since the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. The shooting led to the election of the current governor, Ron DeSantis, who signed a package of new gun restrictions into law.
Alyssa Ackbar, a national organizer at March for Our Lives based in Florida, stated,
This bill encourages anarchy." But, she added, "We are not opposed to owning a gun; We support reasonable laws that promote responsible and safe ownership."
On Thursday, March for Our Lives, a youth-led group working to end gun violence, will demonstrate against the bill outside the State Capitol. Along with youth activists, Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani, and others, co-founder and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivor David Hogg will address the gathering.
The Florida Phoenix reports that Republican Rep. Mike Beltran submitted an amendment on Tuesday to allow gun owners to carry their firearms openly and in plain view without a permit. However, a day later, Beltran withdrew his proposal. In addition, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has stated that she will not support open carry because the Florida Sheriffs Association opposes it.
Additionally, March for Our Lives is opposing a separate bill that would lower the age at which a person can purchase a firearm from 21 to 18. Following the shooting at Parkland, the minimum age was raised to 21. While House Republicans support the bill, there is no Senate version, making it unlikely to become law.
Ackbar said she was "encouraged that it won't pass" because it would be a "slap in the face" to Parkland survivors and their families. She added,
This is a dangerous and offensive bill for survivors."
In half of the states in the United States, permitless carry laws are already in effect. Florida appears to be on track to pass one, with Gov. DeSantis indicating that he would support either legislation. However, gun safety advocates like March for Our Lives are pushing back against the bill, arguing that it would only lead to more violence and undo the progress made in gun safety measures.
What do you think about the proposed permitless carry bill in Florida? Would it promote responsible gun ownership or increase the risk of gun violence? Share your thoughts in the comments, and if you found this article worth reading, show some love and buy me a coffee. It will be greatly appreciated and might even prevent me from falling asleep on my keyboard.
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