Florida’s House Votes To Approve Permit-Less Concealed Carry of Firearms – Bill Now Passes to Senate for Final Vote

Toby Hazlewood

Constitutional carry a step closer in Florida

Gun and ConstitutionPhoto byShutterstock

Three weeks after a Florida House Republican - Jessica Baker - predicted that permit-less concealed carry of firearms could become law in the Sunshine State, the prediction came true.

On March 24, politicians in Florida's House of Representatives voted largely along partisan lines, and approved bill HB543 - by 76 votes to 32.

The bill will now pass to the Senate for a final vote, and if approved at that stage, all that remains is for Governor Ron DeSantis to sign it into law. It would mean that Florida joins over 20 other states where some form of so-called 'constitutional carry' of firearms is allowed by law.

A God-given constitutional right?

There seems little doubt whether Governor DeSantis would sign such a bill - indeed he has confirmed that he would do so, long ago after he promised that it would be part of Florida's law before the end of his time in office. Commenting on this possibility, DeSantis had this to say:

"I’ve been very clear, I support all of it. Now I’m going to sign what they do. So if they do a permit-less carry bill, and that gets to my desk, you know, I’m not going to veto that because it didn’t necessarily include everything I want.”

All that may be missing from the Florida bill as it stands, is the freedom for Floridian gun owners to carry rifles openly - it's this right to bear arms that many gun-owners feel represents the true intent of the American constitution and in particular the second amendment.

As it is, HB543 allows legal gun owners to buy and carry a firearm without a permit, training or background checks.

Gun rights protestorPhoto byShutterstock

A deterrent to crime, or a danger to Floridians?

Gun rights advocates may consider that the full, unrestricted ownership and carry of firearms is a constitutional right, but there's a conflict in society over whether this is an accurate interpretation of the sentiment of the constitution itself.

It's a partisan political issue too. In late 2022 as Governor DeSantis hinted that constitutional carry was a priority for him in the coming year, one of his most vocal critics - Governor Gavin Newsom of California - reminded his followers on Twitter that guns were the leading cause of death for children, overtaking cancer and cars as the leading cause of death.

With the bill having been approved by the Florida House of Representatives, it's one step closer to being approved in Florida's law. The Senate has yet to vote of course, and there could be a lot of further debate on the topic before Governor DeSantis is eventually presented with a new law to sign.

Gun rights advocates though will likely feel that it's almost within reach. Whether it turns out to have harmful effects in terms of increased incidents of gun-related crime and violence, or a reduction in levels of crime, remains to be seen.

Are you in favor of constitutional carry of firearms passing in to Florida law? Will you feel safer, or in greater danger if the bill makes it to Governor Ron DeSantis and he approves it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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