TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would allow gun owners to carry a concealed firearm without a state permit.
After the House’s 76–32 vote, HB-543 will next go to a final floor vote in the Senate before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs off on it.
Although Florida does not require a permit to purchase a firearm, gun carriers still need to apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm, a process that currently involves specific background checks and training.
Though gun purchase laws remain in place, the elimination of concealed carry permits means the required basic safety training that goes with it will be eliminated too.
Republicans like Representative John Snyder said proper gun training and permits will not decrease gun violence.
Snyder said the proposed bill would allow Floridians to protect themselves without permission from the government.
“I trust the people of the great state of Florida a whole lot more than I trust the government,” he said.
However, according to a 2022 study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, firearm assaults increase in states that relax firearm permit restrictions.
Parents of the Parkland shooting victims met with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on March 11, in hopes of stopping gun owners from carrying guns without a permit under legislation.
The meeting was meant to honor the lives lost during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School five years ago and to stop legislation they say will only lead to more shootings.
Parents like Anthony Montalto, whose daughter Gina Montalto was killed in the shooting, say that the efforts made for school safety are now being threatened because of the proposed permitless carry bill.
“I feel that this current bill will retract some of that and we will have more families joining this terrible club that my wife, myself and the other families here today find ourselves in,” he said.
The bill will now move forward to the Senate to be debated and voted on as soon as next week.