(UnitedVoice.com) – After the Parkland school shooting in 2018 that killed 17 people, Florida’s legislature passed stricter gun laws. The move was surprising in a state that is tightly controlled by Republicans. Now, the Sunshine State has moved in the opposite direction.
On April 3, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 543 into law. The legislation allows all Florida residents who qualify to own a gun to conceal carry without a permit. The bill states those who do not have a license are still allowed to carry as long as they have an identification card and hand it over to law enforcement when they are asked to provide it.
DeSantis made history when he signed the bill because more than half of the states in America now allow permitless carry.
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) April 3, 2023
The legislation has been criticized by gun control activists and some law enforcement officials. In February, Orange County Sheriff John Mina wrote an op-ed about the issue, saying permitless carry puts police “in the dangerous position” of trying to figure out whether someone is a good guy or bad guy with a gun. In March, Mina appeared on Jon Stewart’s Apple+ TV show to express dismay about the legislation.
Gov. DeSantis just signed a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, making Florida the 26th state to allow permitless carry. We spoke to Florida @SheriffMina who said this won’t make his state safer — in fact, just the opposite. https://t.co/ZfmG8sXOCm pic.twitter.com/fW0Ap7eqrF
— The Problem With Jon Stewart (@TheProblem) April 3, 2023
Other sheriffs, including Leon County’s Walt McNeil, have also spoken out against the bill. McNeil told WFSU News he’s “very concerned” about officers responding to calls when weapons might be involved because they won’t know if it’s a good guy or not.
On the other side of the aisle, some Second Amendment activists have complained the legislation didn’t go far enough, saying the bill isn’t truly “constitutional carry” because it doesn’t allow open carry. Gun Owners of America Director Luis Valdes told the Tampa Bay Times the new legislation “is a good thing,” however it isn’t “the constitutional carry that [they] were promised.”
The bill goes into effect on July 1.
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