Permitless Concealed Carry, It’s Coming Soon

April 3rd, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 543 into law which will allow permitless concealed carry of firearms. This law will make Florida the 26th constitutional carry state in the US.

Currently, to be able to concealed carry a firearm, you must have a Concealed Weapon license (CWL for short), of which 2.66 million Floridians possess. To get a CWL, you pass a background check and take firearm safety courses, among other things. HB 543 will remove these barriers to be able to concealed carry a firearm. After the law comes into effect, the only requirement for concealed carry is to have a valid ID while carrying. However, to clear any confusion, the law won’t change any of the other existing laws regarding firearms, such as those about purchasing firearms, stand your ground, and open carry (which is still banned, unless you are actively involved in hunting, fishing, camping, or target practice).

Concerning the bill, both sides seem to be unsatisfied, for different reasons. On the one hand, some are upset that the bill came short of allowing open carry, and on the other hand, others are upset that the bill loosens gun restrictions when gun violence is already extremely high.

The Blue and White was able to interview several AHS teachers about what they think of the new gun law.

On the new gun law, Mr. Russell had to say, “I would have preferred an open carry law for people who had a gun safety course, which I think the state should provide at a nominal cost. So I am pro-2nd amendment, but there will be consequences.” Additionally, Ms. Brennan said that “I just feel that we’re not going in the right direction. The fatality rate for our children is very high, and it’s not because of COVID, and it’s not because of the flu. It’s because of guns. And so when you open up opportunities for anyone to carry anywhere, in my mind, it just opens up those opportunities,” continuing by saying that “I feel like we’re going back to the days of, you know, gun-toting? You know, horseback riding folks, and we’re all elevated. We offer free education to everyone. So we’re all educated individuals, we know what happens when people have guns. So I’m not saying there should be no guns. I’m just saying that it just shouldn’t be open to all and everyone. So I think we need to have some regulations in place.”

The teachers interviewed also shared different perspectives on how the new gun law would impact gun violence in our state, with Mr. Russell saying “I think it could make the state safer in terms of robberies, assaults, and rapes because any perpetrator would have to be wary that their intended victim could be packing some heat. I do think there will be more accidental violence because I got my first gun in fourth grade and I grew up steeped in the gun culture and that bred in me a healthy respect for how dangerous they are.” In contrast, Mrs. Brown had to say, “I think it will impact law enforcement especially, because anyone and everyone can run around with a gun, no questions asked. Folks can’t even have an egg hunt without getting caught in the crossfire already. Sadly, I expect more cases of road rage and that kind of thing to end with gun violence.”

As the 26th state to enact constitutional carry legislation, Florida is part of a wider push to loosen firearm restrictions amongst conservatives. The impacts of this law are yet to be seen, and likely won’t be 100% clear until months after the law comes into effect.