Constitutional Carry of Guns Remains Illegal in Florida – A Bill That Wasn’t Approved During the Legislative Season

Toby Hazlewood

Gun permits are still required in Florida
Gun, Constitution and FlagShutterstock

A number of controversial bills were approved by Florida's legislature during the 2022 legislative season - a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and the so-called 'Stop WOKE' act to name two. But one controversial bill that seemed to just fade away was HB103 - a proposal to allow carrying of firearms without licenses.

The bill was one of 13 relating to gun control scheduled for discussion in 2022, but according to state records it was "indefinitely removed from consideration" on March 12, having only received its first reading on January 11. Instead of progressing further, the bill appears to have just disappeared.

It would have restored what has been termed 'constitutional carry' rights to the state of Florida, meaning the state would join 20+ others - including Texas - that allow permit-less gun ownership to those who are of age and legally allowed to own a gun. Instead, the pre-existing restrictions remain in force.

A change in priorities for the governor?

It's unclear whether Governor DeSantis or the sponsors of the bill - Representatives Sabatini, Fischer and Roche - had a change of heart, or whether the bill was parked due to it being politically unpopular.

Suspicions were first roused when the bill was conspicuously absent from the governor's 'State of the State' speech at the start of the legislative season. In spite of the governor having previously indicated that if the bill were to pass across his desk, he would sign it into law, it appears that it wasn't to be.

Good news or bad news

Whether you consider this as good news or bad news will depend on your perspective regarding guns and gun control.

Constitutional carry laws came into effect in Texas in September 2021 - effectively allowing handguns to be carried in the state without any requirement for licenses, training, finger-printing for gun-owners or even a shooting proficiency test for anyone wanting to buy a handgun.

In the first 7 days after the law changed in Texas on September 1 there were 35 gun-related deaths and 7 injuries - 15 of those deaths occurred in Houston alone.

Gun rights advocates point out that the permit-less carry of firearms is more closely aligned to second amendment rights under the American constitution. They claim that it will that it will deter crime and remove cost barriers and time lags for people who want to defend themselves.

What happens next?

While the Florida bill has faded away, in the state of Indiana their own constitutional carry bill made it through the state's legislative season. It was approved, in spite of initially being rejected in committee discussions and it will now be possible to carry a gun openly in the state. Ohio and Alabama also adopted constitutional carry this legislative season.

Florida's politicians have previously tried to introduce constitutional carry and it may just have to wait until next year before it is considered again.

What do you think about the prospect of constitutional carry laws in Florida? Are you in favor of less gun control or are you happy with how things are now? Let me know in the comments section below.

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