Florida permitless carry clears first hurdle

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The state of Florida has long had the nickname “The Gunshine State,” named that would make you think permitless carry happened years ago.

However, for those of us who are familiar with the state’s laws, it’s hard to take that nickname seriously, and that was before the post-Parkland push for gun control that gripped lawmakers there. Constitutional carry wasn’t remotely a consideration back in those days.


In fact, despite the nickname, they don’t even have open carry–even with a permit.

Then there’s the fact that they not only require a permit to carry at all but there’s a training requirement. That’s more than any decent, Second Amendment-loving American should be satisfied with.

Still, there’s good news. Lawmakers there are working toward passing permitless carry and now, the bill is one step closer to becoming law. That said, there are issues with it.

A Republican measure to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit in Florida continues to move forward in the legislature, even though the bill has received broad public opposition, including from gun rights groups.

“We’re insulted by this bill,” Bob White, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida told members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday. “It’s a slap in the face to the Second Amendment community.”

Permitless carry bills in the House and Senate wouldn’t allow people to openly carry firearms. For gun rights advocates speaking out against the measure, that means they’re not true “constitutional carry” proposals, as Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican leaders have promised.

“Anyone who knows anything about the Second Amendment knows that a true constitutional carry bill is going to include open carry,” White said. “As far as we’re concerned, the [House] speaker went back on his word, he reneged on a commitment he made, and we intend to hold him accountable for that.”


Honestly, they’re not wrong to do so.

As it stands, Florida gun rights advocates will routinely wear their firearms with only a “sock” covering the gun as a way to show the absolute stupidity of the law there.

Permitless carry was, in theory, a way to solve that. White is absolutely correct that true constitutional carry doesn’t dictate open or concealed, either.

So if they pass some variation of permitless carry that doesn’t include open carry, that’s not really the win they were expecting.

However, I think it’s also worthwhile to recognize that this is, indeed, a win should it pass.

It might also be worth considering that this is the only way to take this step. For a lot of people, open carry is going too far. They think that seeing guns displayed openly, even in a holster, will cause all kinds of problems.

Now, mind you, I think this argument is ridiculous and it should be debated and shot down publicly. I’m just trying to consider why Florida is looking at this particular flavor of permitless carry.

With all that said, though, there may still be time to rally and push through a version of this that includes open carry. If you’re in Florida, call your lawmakers immediately!


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