The Phoenix Flyer

Permitless carry passes in the Florida House – the measure now goes to the Senate

By: - March 24, 2023 5:07 pm

Photo via Getty Images/Colorado Newsline.

The Florida House of Representatives passed a permitless carry bill (HB 543) along party lines Friday that would allow people to carry guns without being required to obtain a concealed-weapons license from the state. If ultimately approved, it would make the Sunshine State the 26th state in the nation to have such a law. The measure still needs to clear the state Senate before going to Gov. Ron DeSantis desk for his consideration.

The bill is controversial because it would allow people to carry concealed firearms without going through the current licensing steps, which include undergoing a training and safety course as well as an additional background check.

Every Democrat voted against the measure.

Orange County Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis said the result of the legislation will be that “more Black people will senselessly die.”

“This begs the question: why are we making this easier to carry guns but harder to vote?” she asked during the floor debate. “Why are we having conversations about expanding gun laws instead of expanding Medicaid? Why is that getting guns is so easy and getting books so hard?”

North Florida Republican Bobby Payne dismissed concerns by Democrats that not requiring people with a concealed carry license not to go through a gun safety and training course makes the state less safe.

“I heard things like ‘you need training to cut hair or be a manicurist,” he said. “Folks, there’s nothing in the Constitution that tells you how many hours you have to train…to be a beautician. And there’s nothing in the Second Amendment that says that you have to have training to be able to carry a weapon.”

Receiving much less attention with the bill is that it also contained a package of school safety measures that many Democrats said they supported, just not in a bill that included permitless carry.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.