Becomes 26 State Florida To Pass Constitutional Concealed Carry Bill

Over half of US states now permit the concealed carry of firearms without government authorization.

On Monday, Florida became the 26th state to adopt such a policy when Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 543 into law at 8:15 a.m. The legislation will come into effect on July 1st, 2023.

“This marks a significant advancement for Florida and a momentous progress for the nation,” stated Art Thomm, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action state director.

Thomm succeeded Marion Hammer, Florida’s long-serving NRA lobbyist, in June. Within a few months, he got an unlicensed concealed carry bill through both legislative chambers and the governor’s desk.

The new law enables law-abiding Floridians to carry concealed handguns without obtaining a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License (CWFL) from the government. However, the state’s successful CWFL program will continue, with over 2.4 million Floridians currently holding a license.

While the new law does not mandate training, it does not alter the eligibility requirements for purchasing or carrying a firearm either. Supporters claim it “evens the playing field” for law-abiding residents. CS/HB 54 does not permit open carry of firearms, leading some to argue that the legislation falls short of “constitutional carry.” Florida State Rep. Mike Beltran attempted to address this by proposing an open carry amendment to the bill.

Beltran, a strong Second Amendment advocate, faced several issues with his amendment, including potentially derailing the bill in the Senate. Additionally, his amendment would have required open carriers to use a specific type of holster, making Florida the only state with such a requirement and imposing a felony penalty for non-compliance. Furthermore, the amendment did not provide a clear definition of a level-two retention device.

Moreover, Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo expressed her opposition to a bill that included open carry, citing the Florida Sheriffs Association’s disapproval of the concept.

“I will support what the Sheriffs of this state, who are the experts, support. I don’t know one end of a gun from another, so I certainly want to support the experts,” she told the media. “The reality is, this bill basically says you do not need the government’s permission to carry your weapon. That, in my mind, is constitutional carry.”

The legislation signed by Governor DeSantis on Monday received backing from pro-gun organizations such as the NRA, GOA, NAGR, and Florida Carry, Inc. These groups have all pledged to continue pursuing open-carry legislation in the future.

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