TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2021) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill filed for the 2021 legislative session would make it legal for Florida residents to carry a firearm without a license, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) prefiled House Bill 123 (HB123) on Dec. 28. Under the proposed law, anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun could carry it concealed without a state-issued license. Currently, Florida allows anyone over 21 years old who can demonstrate “competency with a firearm” to obtain a concealed carry permit. The license also applies to other types of weapons.

Under the proposed law, all other states’ concealed licenses would be recognized. A Florida resident could still get a permit in order to carry concealed in states that require them.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing HB123 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB123 will be referred to several committees when the legislative session starts on March 2. It will have to receive a majority vote in each committee in order to advance to the House floor.


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