Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that will allow Floridians to carry concealed guns without a permit. The new law will take effect on July 1 and means that training and a background check will not be required to carry concealed weapons in public. Those who can legally own guns in Florida will be able to carry them without a permit. Supporters of the bill, mostly Republicans, argue that law-abiding citizens have a right to carry guns and protect themselves. They also say that most people will still want to get a permit as it will allow them to carry concealed weapons in states with reciprocal agreements and to purchase guns without a waiting period.
However, opponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, argue that the new law will only make the state more dangerous. They point to mass shootings in Florida, such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando and the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. Democrats fear that the new law could lead to more gun violence.
The bill signing comes five years after the state created gun restrictions in response to the Parkland shooting, which claimed the lives of 17 students and faculty members. Under DeSantis, momentum has swung back toward expanding gun rights rather than placing limits on them. While the Governor has expressed his desire to allow people to openly carry guns, it doesn't appear that the Legislature will pass such legislation this session.
It's worth noting that nearly 3 million Floridians already 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. The arguments over the legislation were divided along political lines, with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats opposing it.