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Florida could soon allow concealed carry without a permit

Adrian Andrews
Florida House Speaker Paul Renner announces proposed legislation to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit on Monday, Jan. 30. 2023.

Republican state lawmakers have filed legislation that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

“Florida led the nation in allowing for concealed carry, and that extends today as we remove the government permission slip to require a permit to exercise a constitutional right,” said House Speaker Paul Renner during a press conference on Monday, when he announced the measure.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been actively pushing for an end to concealed carry permitting requirements since last year.

HB 543 would allow anyone who may purchase a gun in the state, including people who live outside the state, to carry their weapon without a permit. It's likely to pass in the GOP-controlled legislature.

If enacted, the measure would take effect on July 1.

The measure wouldn't allow open carry, which many gun rights advocates support.

"We simply want an amendment added to this bill that allows an individual to openly carry a firearm," said Luis Valdes, the Florida director for Gun Owners of America.

Democrats spoke out against the legislation after it was filed, describing it as "dangerous."

Right now, applicants must complete a training course in order to receive a concealed carry permit. Eliminating the requirement for a permit, would also do away with that mandatory training.

And it’s that potential loss of training that worries Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D-Coconut Creek) whose district includes Parkland, where the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting happened almost five years ago.

“Removing the training to make you a competent firearm carrier doesn’t sound like a great public safety measure to me. This alone is a step in the wrong direction."

Adrian Andrews contributed to this report.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.