After a long hard struggle (which isn’t over, by the way), Florida is advancing on Second Amendment rights once again. Once a front-runner on gun rights, Florida fell behind a number of states and is playing catch-up. Starting July 1st, Floridians will at least be able to join 25 other states by being able to conceal and carry a handgun without the need of a government issue permission slip.
The last few years have been a hard struggle to advance gun rights in the “gunshine state.” For years, a Republican Supermajority refused to touch Constitutional Carry. But, after the hard work and dedication of Gun Owners of America and fellow like-minded gun-owning patriots, enough pressure was put on lawmakers to take up the issue. In previous legislative sessions, every real pro-gun bill was killed in committee on the orders of the previous House Speaker and Senate President.
Through GOA’s hard work, along with our allies, things started to change in Florida. While we all want real Constitutional Carry—which would protect the right to Open Carry—this is still a step in the right direction.
Yesterday, the Senate passed CS/HB-543 (CS/SB-150). Last week, the State House passed its version, HB-543. These bills are for Permitless Concealed Carry. This goes into effect July 1,st and the best part is, it doesn’t only apply to residents.
All Americans visiting Florida can carry without a permit starting July 1.
That is great news for the tourists who visit our beaches and parks. Their Second Amendment rights don’t end at the borders of Georgia or Alabama.
While this isn’t true Constitutional Carry, again, this is an important step towards restoring Floridians’ right to keep and bear arms.
No longer are gun owners in Florida beholden to the government to protect themselves.
Having the ability to have at least one method of carrying without the requirement of having a government issue permission slip is a good thing.
But this doesn’t mean that Gun Owners of America will “take the win” and move on—as Rep. Chuck Brannan told gun owners earlier this session. Clearly, Florida has RINOs in the legislature that still need a good political shellacking.
The fight is ongoing, and Governor DeSantis is on our side. He has stated that he supports true Constitutional Carry. He supports Open Carry and, in the past, has stated that he would have vetoed the Parkland Gun Control bill signed into law by his gubernatorial predecessor, Rick Scott.
GOA is still going to push for Open Carry, Campus Carry, repealing Red Flag Laws, and repealing Gun Free Zones.
So, let’s keep up the good fight and make sure to keep the pressure on our legislators in Tallahassee. The next session is right around the corner and getting Permitless Concealed-Only Carry was just the first battle in the war to restore our Second Amendment rights in the “gunshine state.”
About Luis Valdes
Luis Valdes is the Florida State Director and the Director of Outreach for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands for Gun Owners of America. A life-long advocate of freedom and a firearms shooter, hunter, competitor, and collector. Luis is the first of his family born in the United States of Cuban Immigrants who fled Communism and who’s family saw firsthand what gun control truly results in.