Permit-less gun carry bill gaining traction in Tallahassee amid Republican supermajority

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week, Republicans in the Florida Legislature are closing in on their goal of getting a permit-less gun carry bill on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

That comes as opposition against it grows more fierce, with national gun reform groups joining Florida Democrats.

The state Senate got its first look at the bill on Monday. It would allow concealed carrying of weapons in Florida without the currently required permit or training.

Republicans call it a Second Amendment right.

“Getting the government permission slip out of the way is the impetus for this bill,” said State Sen. Jay Collins, a Republican from Tampa.

With a GOP supermajority, the party has the votes to move the bill at will.

“Senate Democrats are ready to fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book. “It’s going to be a very busy week.”

Democratic Minority Leaders plan to push back with studies suggesting weakening conceal-carry rules increases violent crime.

“I do not believe that adding more guns in our communities, carried by basically anyone, will make Florida safer,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell.

They’ll also have the backing of national gun reform advocates like March For Our Lives, which was founded by Parkland students following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

GOP leadership is defending the controversial decision to pair the permit-less carry in a bill with broadly supported public safety improvements, such as expanding the state’s guardian program to private schools.

Democrats call it a cynical political ploy.

The House Speaker calls it “a convenience.”

“In the legislative process, we have 2,000 bills that get filed and so you’ll see a lot of that where the scope of the bill would fit more than one topic, we combine those two together so we can get those through and passed off the floor,” said Florida House Speaker Paul Renner.

This is just one of many high-profile, controversial bills likely to get to the governor this year.

DeSantis is backing many of them, saying on Fox News Monday morning, it would be “the most productive legislative session we have had across the board.”

The regular session gavels in on March 7.

About the Author:

Jenise Fernandez joined the Local 10 News team in November 2014. She is thrilled to be back home reporting for the station she grew up watching. Jenise, who is from Miami and graduated from Florida International University, also interned at Local 10 while she was in college.