In response to expressions of support from Governor Ron DeSantis, on Monday Florida House Speaker Paul Renner announced a permitless firearms carry proposal. Florida is currently in contention with Nebraska to become the 26th constitutional carry state.
“Floridians shouldn’t need a government permission slip to exercise their constitutional rights,” Renner said according to reporting by Florida’s Voice. “House Bill 543 will ensure Florida will remain a beacon of freedom. Florida was the pioneer in the modern carry movement in America and this historic legislation continues our proud tradition.”
The bill’s sponsors are Republicans Rep. Chuck Brannan and Sen. Jay Collins.
“People don’t have to carry if they don’t want to. This is a constitutional right people have,” Brannan said. “Criminals are getting guns anyway. They don’t care what the law says. We’re only giving law-abiding citizens a simple way to get a firearm. It’s only fitting that citizens of the freest state in the nation be given the right to constitutional carry.”
“It’s about time. Florida is taking this huge step and what we’re doing is checking off the box again and showing that Florida is the freedom state, and showing that citizens have the right to protect themselves,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey during the press conference announcing introduction of the bill.
“This bill gives our citizens the ability to exercise their second amendment, to protect themselves, their family, those around them in church, those around them at the movie theater, or anywhere they may become the victim of a violent attack.”
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, who has repeatedly stood up for individual rights and freedoms, we will take this monumental step to ensure that government does not interfere with a law abiding citizens ability to protect themselves and their families,” said Collins.
In December, DeSantis reiterated his support for constitutional carry legislation.
“What you don’t want is to have a gun government bureaucrat stymie your ability to exercise your constitutional rights,” DeSantis previously said when expressing support for permitless carry.
Current law requires people receive training, apply for a permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and submit their fingerprints to carry a concealed weapon.
Under the proposal, a person carrying concealed without a license will still be required to obey existing laws prohibiting carrying in such places as schools, athletic events, and correctional facilities, according to the press release. The bill does not affect laws relating to the purchase of a firearm and will not allow anyone prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry concealed. The legislation does not allow for “open carry.”
Under the bill, Floridian residents would still be required to go through the preexisting set of background checks before purchasing a firearm. Only when the purchase is processed would the individual be allowed to carry a firearm without obtaining a concealed carry license.
House Bill 543 constitutional carry strengthens the right to self-defense in Florida by recognizing the right of any law-abiding adult who is at least 21-years-old and legally eligible to obtain a carry permit, to carry a handgun without first having to obtain government permission. This ensures that citizens have their right to self-defense without red tape, delays, or fees. It does not change who is eligible to obtain a carry permit. It also does not affect previously issued permits, and allows citizens who still wish to obtain a permit in order to carry in other states recognizing Florida’s permits, to do so.
“We don’t operate in a vacuum. What’s happening in our society now is Defund the Police 2.0,” Speaker of the Florida House Paul Renner said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my history on earth that we’ve needed the right to keep and bear arms more than now.”
The Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee will hear it on February 7th from 4-6PM. Please use the NRA-ILA contact your legislator tool to contact subcommittee members and ask them to SUPPORT HB 543.
CHQ Editor George Rasley is a certified rifle and pistol instructor, a Glock ® certified pistol armorer and a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant, or advance representative for some of America's most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. A member of American MENSA, he served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.
Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida House Speaker Paul Renner
House Bill 543
Rep. Chuck Brannan
Sen. Jay Collins