Under a bill Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Monday, residents will be able to carry concealed guns without a permit. The governor signed the bill in a private ceremony in his office. The new law, which takes effect July 1st, will allow anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida to carry one without a permit. It means training and a background check will not be required to carry concealed guns in public.
The arguments over the legislation were divided along political lines, with Republicans saying law-abiding citizens have a right to carry guns and protect themselves, and that most people will still want to get a permit because it will allow them to carry concealed weapons in states with reciprocal agreements and to be able to purchase guns without a waiting period.
On the opposite side of the argument, Democrats and gun safety advocates point to mass shootings in Florida like the massacre at the 2016 Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and say the new law will only make the state more dangerous. Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, told reporters during an online news conference: “I will chase him down across the state as well as possibly across the country … because Ron DeSantis today put his signature to a bill that guarantees there will be more Jaimes … Somebody in Florida may die … because of this legislation. That will be because of you, Ron DeSantis. I understand why you hid today … You are a weak, pathetic, small-minded individual.”
Nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapons permit. While a background check and three-day waiting period will still be required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not required for private transactions or exchanges of weapons. The bill signing comes five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a bill creating gun restrictions after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Under DeSantis, momentum has swung back toward expanding gun rights rather than placing limits on them, which has earned him praise from gun rights advocates.
Editorial credit: Hunter Crenian / Shutterstock.com