Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini of Lake County filed House Bill 273 which removes the requirement for a license to carry a concealed firearm where it is currently required for lawful gun owners. Tyler Sirois (R) of our District 51 has signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill.
The bill also seeks to allow any person at least 18 years old to “possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.”
Sabatini said the bill would remove the requirement for what he calls a “permission slip from government” before concealing a weapon for their self defense — also known as ‘Constitutional Carry.
“Our Second Amendment right should not be determined by a government bureaucracy,” the Republican said in a tweet announcing the bill.
Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization promoting sensible gun control, has dismissed the “constitutional carry” movement as “permitless carry.”
“These ‘permitless carry’ bills lower the bar for who may carry hidden handguns in public—and in many states would let violent criminals, teenagers and people with no safety training legally carry in crowded town centers and on city streets,” the organization writes.
“States that pass permitless carry see a substantial increase in gun violence. This dangerous legislation ignores the 88 percent of Americans who support requiring safety training and a clean criminal record in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.”
Guns.com reports that if the bill were to become law, Florida would join 16 other states that don’t require any permit to carry a firearm in public spaces.
Florida currently requires a permit to carry a gun except for hunting and fishing or when evacuating from a hurricane.
The gun legislation also reduces the unlawful carrying of firearms into certain institutions from a felony to a misdemeanor.
It also includes controversial “reciprocity” language requiring Florida to recognize concealed weapon and firearm licenses from all states, even those with looser requirements than Florida.
“All valid licenses to carry concealed weapons and firearms issued by other states are hereby given full faith and credit in this state,” reads Sabatini’s bill.
Everytown calls reciprocity “a chaotic and dangerous policy that would gut every state’s gun laws and make our communities less safe.”
Since no national rules exist setting a minimum standard for conceal carry requirements, Everytown leaders say such a change would “effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws.”
Lawmakers will likely look at the bill during the 2020 legislative session. However, at least one lawmaker in Florida opposes the proposed legislation.
“You can count on us to fight this bill and to make sure it never gets to the Governor’s desk,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani for District 47 which is where the Pulse Night Club shooting took place.
In light of the recent shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas, Sabatini had harsh words in a Facebook post saying “To the liberal cowards that want to ban firearms: please apologize to every member of this Church—their lives were saved today by Texans rejecting your nonsense ideas.”