TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The controversial Florida bill that would allow people in Florida to carry guns without a permit is now headed to the governor’s desk.
The bill called “Public Safety” is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
It was passed Thursday after a vote, but not before hours of passionate debate.
“Every state that has passed this type of law saw 24-to-30% increase in gun violence,” said State Sen. Darryl Rouson, a Democrat from Hillsborough County. “Why do we think we’re different?”
The new law would mean legal gun owners no longer need permits or training to carry concealed weapons.
But the same bill injects $60 million into school safety programs and resources.
“This is a continuation of school safety that this (body) prioritizes,” said State Sen. Alexis Calatayud, a Republican from Miami.
“My ‘no’ vote is not about the good parts of the bill that will keep, but that can’t outweigh the danger of people in this state,” said State Sen. Lauren Book, a Democrat from Plantation.
The full Senate also began debate on the bill further restricting legal abortions to six weeks, with exceptions.
“Our faith guides us on this issue, there’s no doubt,” said State Sen. Danny Burgess, a Republican from Pasco County.
It passed its final House committee after public comments were cut short.
“I’m up on this bill because it will save lives,” said State Rep. Rachel Lora Saunders Plakon, a Republican representing District 36. “I pray that we can eliminate abortion in this state.”
The Senate also passed changes to Florida’s death penalty recommendations, now requiring a majority of jurors instead of a unanimous decision.
That bill was filed in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter avoiding the death sentence because of one holdout juror.
“I can make the argument on either side,” said State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat who represents parts of northeast Miami-Dade and Broward counties. “Let’s be honest, if that verdict didn’t happen, we would not be having this bill.”