Is constitutional carry coming to Florida?

Concealed Carry

Retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Kim Varner said the idea that Floridians could buy a gun without a permit makes him uncomfortable.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are proposing new legislation that would no longer require gun owners to have a concealed carry permit.

Governor Ron DeSantis, the National Rifle Association and Florida Sheriffs Association have thrown their support behind the bill. Rep. Chuck Brannan and Sen. Jay Collins introduced Monday morning.

First Coast News law enforcement expert Kim Varner said the idea that Floridians could get a firearm without a permit makes him uncomfortable.

 “With a permit, you have checks and balances,” Varner said. “You can tell who that weapon belongs to. You can track that weapon. You can track that weapon as far as everything about it.”

Right now, people must complete an instructional firearm safety course and additional background checks to have a concealed carry permit in Florida. If passed, this law would allow anyone who is legally able to own a firearm to carry it without a permit.

“I hope they’ll still be able to run checks on weapons and find out who those weapons belong to and find out if that person should have a weapon, if the gun is stolen or not,” Varner said.

Varner said shootings are on the rise, but he doesn’t think this legislation would increase or decrease the frequency of shootings.

Congressman Maxwell Frost weighed in, noting that the legislation comes just two weeks before the anniversary of the Parkland mass shooting. In a statement, he said, “This is a reckless, dangerous piece of legislation, and I join survivors and Floridians in calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to put an end to it now.”

First Coast News reached out to Brannan and Collins for comment. Collins’ office has not responded, and Brannan’s office told us he would not be available for interviews this week.

In a press release, the NRA Florida State Director Art Thomm said: “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. The NRA is proud to have led this effort across America and looks forward to welcoming Florida into the fold of freedom that constitutional carry provides.”

“Florida has long been at the forefront of supporting their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms,” Thomm said. “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.”

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