DeSantis Signs New Concealed Weapons Law

Permit, training, background check no longer required
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2023 4:42 PM CDT
DeSantis Signs New Concealed Weapons Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd at Adventure Outdoors gun store, Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Smyrna, Ga.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Floridians will be able to carry concealed guns without a permit under a bill Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Monday, giving the governor another legislative victory as he prepares a campaign for president. The governor signed the bill in a private ceremony in his office. His only immediate public comment was, "Constitutional Carry is in the books," the AP reports. The new law will allow anyone who can legally own a gun in Florida to carry one without a permit. It means training and a background check will not be required to carry concealed guns in public. It takes effect July 1.

The arguments over the legislation were divided along political lines, with Republicans saying law-abiding citizens have a right to carry guns and protect themselves. They say most people will still want to get a permit because it will allow them to carry concealed weapons in states with reciprocal agreements and to be able to purchase guns without a waiting period. However, Democrats and gun safety advocates—pointing to mass shootings in Florida like the massacre at the 2016 Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland—say the new law will only make the state more dangerous.

"I am pissed," Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told reporters during an online news conference. "I will chase him down across the state as well as possibly across the country ... because Ron DeSantis today put his signature to a bill that guarantees there will be more Jaimes." He said signing the bill behind closed doors makes DeSantis a coward. "Somebody in Florida may die ... because of this legislation. That will be because of you, Ron DeSantis," Guttenberg said. "I understand why you hid today ... You are a weak, pathetic, small-minded individual."

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Nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapons permit. While a background check and three-day waiting period will still be required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not required for private transactions or exchanges of weapons. DeSantis has said he thinks Florida should go even further and allow people to openly carry guns. While some lawmakers have pushed for open carry, it doesn't appear the Legislature will pass such legislation this session.

(More Florida stories.)

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