Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, along with the National Rifle Association, announced a new bill in the Florida legislature that would allow a constitutional carry law to go into effect in the Sunshine State.
Renner previously stated that “the Florida House will work to expand constitutional rights that empower law-abiding citizens to defend themselves,” while Governor Ron DeSantis said in late 2022 that the right to constitutional carry was a top priority for legislators.
“Basically, this was something that I’ve always supported,” DeSantis said.
“The last two years, it was not necessarily a priority for the legislative leadership. But we’ve been talking about it, and he’s [Renner’s] pledged publicly that’s moving forward, and it’ll be something that will be done in the regular session," the governor added.
The bill, titled HB 543: Concealed Carry of Weapons and Firearms Without a License, was filed by state Representative Chuck Brannan and state Senator Jay Collins.
The NRA's Florida state director, Art Thomm, boasted about the organization's participation in the effort, saying that "half of the country currently recognizes the fundamental right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm for self-defense as enshrined in our Constitution."
Thomm added that the NRA is looking forward to "welcoming Florida into the fold of freedom that constitutional carry provides."
If passed, constitutional carry will allow anyone who can legally own a firearm to carry one without a permit and without paying a fee to the state. The NRA says that the bill does not allow felons or any previously prohibited individuals to own a firearm and is compliant with state and federal possession laws.
"As long as an individual can legally own a gun, they would be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for a permit," said local outlet the Florida Standard.
The right to constitutional carry is an ever-growing trend across states. Approximately half of U.S. jurisdictions allow constitutional carry, with a majority of states now allowing open carry of handguns as well.
"We thank Gov. DeSantis for his steadfast leadership on this issue, Speaker Renner and the Florida Sheriffs Association for their backing, and the millions of law-abiding Florida gun owners for their continued support," said the NRA rep.
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