TALLAHASSEE – On March 30, the Florida Senate passed the NRA-backed Constitutional Carry in a 27-13 vote. With the signature of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida will become the 26th in the nation that allows concealed carry of loaded weapons without a special permit.
The Florida Sheriff’s Association has endorsed the legislation. On Feb. 3, the Florida Police Chief’s Association also released a statement in support of the bill.
While the governor has publicly endorsed the open carry of firearms, the legislation did not go that far. Some legislators voiced concerns that approving open carry of firearms in Florida could hurt the state’s tourism industry.
GIFFORDS Florida, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, condemned the passage of permitless carry legislation in the Florida House.
“As a mother of two young children in Florida, I fear for them every day. We do not need people without training or background checks carrying firearms in public. If permitless carry becomes law, arguments will turn into gun fights in our parks and grocery stores,” stated GIFFORDS Florida State Director Samantha Barrio.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the gun rights victory. “This is a momentous step in the Constitutional Carry movement as now the majority of American states recognize the Constitution protects the right for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves outside their homes without fees or permits,” said Randy Kozuch, interim executive director, NRA-ILA. “The carry movement began decades ago and the NRA has been working to get this legislation passed throughout America.”
Other “constitutional carry” states include Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
While the law removes the requirement for a concealed carry permit, it requires anyone carrying a weapon to carry valid identification and to “display such identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.”
Some Florida residents may wish to continue to hold Florida concealed carry permits in order to carry weapons in other states that have reciprocal agreements with Florida.
Florida law continues to prohibit the public from carrying weapons in certain locations such as schools, courthouses, airport terminals, places that sell alcohol and meetings of governing bodies.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement provided the following answers to "frequently asked questions" about firearms.
How do I know if I’m eligible to purchase a firearm?
There are ten categories of persons who are not eligible to purchase or possess a firearm under federal law (Title 18, United States Code 922(g)(1)-(9), (n)). They are:
In addition to federal law, Florida law prohibits persons who:
What are the requirements to purchase a firearm in Florida?