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Gov. Ron DeSantis signs permitless carry into law during private ceremony

Florida becomes 26th state to enact permitless carry
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed permitless carry into law in Florida on April 3, 2023.
Posted at 12:32 PM, Apr 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 16:58:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gun owners in Florida will now be able to carry firearms without a permit.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 543, which was part of a Public Safety bill, into law during a private ceremony Monday morning.

The GOP has said they're trying to eliminate a "government permission slip" for legal gun owners.

The bill was wrapped in public safety measures that aim to bolster school security. Among its various provisions is an expansion of the guardian program to private schools, better active shooter training for law enforcement, plus improved threat information sharing between schooling districts.

RELATED: What does permitless carry mean for Florida residents?

So, how do the new rules change the way people can carry concealed weapons?

  • They won't have to apply for a permit   
  • They won't have to have their background checked   
  • They won't have to take an instructional course

Gun owners still will not be able to carry concealed weapons in places like airports, courts, schools and other places where gun possession is restricted or banned.
Opponents of permitless carry have fought the idea, calling it dangerous, especially in an age of school shootings.

Florida House Democrats provided the following statements on the new law:

"Governor DeSantis signing the permitless carry bill into law out of the public eye tells you everything you need to know about the Republican extremist agenda to secure an A+ rating from the NRA," Leader Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, said. "Floridians are begging lawmakers to prioritize the safety of their families and communities. Floridians are asking for relief from skyrocketing health care, housing, and property insurance costs, which have gotten to the point they can't afford to live here anymore. Florida House Democrats will continue to advocate for safe and responsible gun ownership policies that will help ensure that gun owners know how to operate a firearm and can keep themselves and those around them safe."

"Permitless Carry policy hidden in a 'Public Safety' bill does not make our communities safer. This is a wildly unpopular bill, which is probably why it was signed quietly, behind closed doors, and with no fanfare," Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, said.

"This morning Governor DeSantis quietly, unceremoniously, and with zero pomp and circumstance, signed the Permitless Carry bill into law. I can't say I'm surprised by the way it was done considering even the Governor must know how wildly unpopular this bill is with Floridians. We as a state are now less safe and have the Governor and Republicans in Tallahassee to thank," Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, said.

The new law goes into effect July 1, making Florida the 26th state to enact what Republicans call "constitutional carry."