Armed and Untrained: Florida Senate passes bill allowing concealed carry without permit


Avani Maharaj, Staff Writer

The Florida Senate passed a bill Thursday that will allow Floridians to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

The bill would grant the right to carry a concealed firearm without training or a license in Florida. Although the bill would remove the training requirement, it would prohibit the carry of concealed guns in specified locations, including schools, courthouses and prisons.

The proposed bill was met with much opposition from Senate members who pointed out the lack of safety that would be brought about with the passing of the bill.

“Young black boys get shot and killed every day,” Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Hollywood) said. “And there’s nothing in the last version of the bill or this bill that will do anything to prevent that, and that’s why I’m a no.”

Senator Tina Polsky (D-Palm Beach) mentioned the recent Nashville school shooting, which left six dead, including three children, as a reason to not pass the proposed bill.

“It’s ironic but so sad that we started yesterday with a moment of silence for the six victims of the Nashville shooting, and yet we went on to debate and reject, ask questions, and reject amendments for ideas that would make this bill safer,” Polsky said.

Supporters of the bill argued that the state would be safer by passing HB 543.

“Bad guys are going to get guns, one way or the other, and evil people are going to do bad things with guns,” Sen. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) said. “I said it in committee; I’ll say it here on the floor. The best protection against those bad guys with guns is to have more good guys with guns.”

Republican supporters of the bill also argued that schools could be safer against the increasing number of school shootings by passing the bill. 

“The part of this bill that I think I like the most, Senator Collins, is the part that hopefully someday, somebody will stop a school child from getting killed or a teacher or a support staff in a school. If that’s the only thing that comes out of this bill, you win, we all win,” Sen. Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) said.

Opponents of the bill questioned the validity of statements that claimed permitless carry would ensure safety.

“We live with gun violence, but we cannot afford to become numb by it,” Darryl Ervin Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) said. “I don’t understand how safety is increased when the statistics tell us that every state that has passed this type of law saw 24 to 30% increase in gun violence.”

The bill passed 27–13 in the Republican-majority chamber after senators heavily debated. It will now head to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk, who has previously said he will pass the legislation.

To learn more about what the proposed bill means for permitless carry, read the full proposal here.