TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 3, 2023) Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill allowing adults over 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The enactment of this so-called “constitutional carry” bill will also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Chuck Brannan (R) and Rep. Bobby Payne (R), along with a large coalition of Republican cosponsors, introduced House Bill 543 (H543) on Jan. 30. Under the law, persons over 21 can legally carry a firearm without a permit in Florida. The state will maintain its concealed carry licensing process for those who wish to get a permit in order to carry in other states that maintain CCDW reciprocity with Florida. Residents will only need to have a valid ID on them while concealed carrying.
However, the bill maintains restrictions on where a resident can concealed carry, including police stations, polling places, schools, college campuses, and professional athletic events.
The bill cleared the state legislature on March 30 after a 27-13 Senate floor vote, following a March 24 vote in the House of 76-32. With DeSantis’ signature today, the law will go into effect on July 1.
During his State of the State speech this month, DeSantis said “a constitutional right should not require a permission slip from the government.”
Following the March 30 vote, Gun Owners of America Executive Vice President John Velleco described it as a “huge win for FL and the U.S.!”
But there is still work to do. Some gun rights advocates say H543 isn’t truly a “constitutional carry” bill because it doesn’t allow the open carrying of firearms,
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless concealed 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.
The signing of H543 into law will lower barriers for those wanting 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.
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