What’s this talk about Constitutional Carry?

What’s this talk about Constitutional Carry?

Many Floridians (and others) have heard that there is a bill in the Florida House establishing Constitutional Carry.  That is partly true… read on.

“Constitutional Carry,” based on the 2nd Amendment concept of “shall not be infringed,” means that the government, well, shall not infringe.   The Florida bill does not claim to not infringe. In fact, it leaves untouched a very central concept that fully 47 States have adopted already, which is open (ie, unconcealed) carry. Florida is way behind the curve with this and it is hoped by many that an anxious gun-owner population in FL will accept the “C.C.-lite.” Indeed, many will.  What is proposed is what is properly called, “permitless carry,” as it will still prohibit “open” carry.

HB 543 (2023) – Concealed Carry of Weapons and Firearms Without a License | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Concealed Carry of Weapons and Firearms Without a License: Authorizes person to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm if he or she is licensed to do so or meets specified requirements; requires person who is carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license to carry identification & display upon demand by law enforcement; prohibits person who is carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license from carrying such weapon or firearm in specified locations; authorizes nonresident to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm in this state if he or she meets same requirements as resident; provides person authorized to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license is subject to specified penalties for possessing such weapon or firearm at school-sponsored event or on school property.

So some background… firearms are governed by Federal law as well as State laws, which vary State to State. This can cause confusion in various situations such as when you want to travel to another State (and many states have a patchwork of laws within their State), and you sincerely do not know if you are legal or are instead committing a felony. Under Federal law, which governs purchases and interstate gun commerce, you have an entirely different set of laws, and which supersede any State’s gun laws pertaining to those topics.

This also accounts for the confusion over Medical Marijuana Cards available in Florida, or even Recreational Marijuana cards available in some States. In either case, possession of a gun is illegal to those who possess such cards, as marijuana remains an illegal substance under Federal law. (see my article https://commandperformance.info/can-you-legally-have-a-medical-marijuana-card-and-a-gun/ )

Twenty-five States have some form of “permitless carry” in place now. Some are “Constitutional Carry.” Florida will likely be Number 26, joining other “permitless carry” States, making a majority of the country at least “permitless carry” if not “Constitutional Carry.”

So, should I get a FL CWL (Carry Permit)?  YES

First of all, even if passed, it will be July 1, 2023 when it becomes law. If you can talk your potential attacker into waiting till then, you are good.

Secondly, if you travel, some States only extend their “permitless carry” options to State residents. If that State has a reciprocity agreement with Florida (as 37 do) then you will still be legal to carry in that State, if you have a FL CWL.

Thirdly, if you ever are forced to use your gun to defend yourself, having a State-issued license may well help your case, as it represents a step that criminals and reckless people do not take. Under the current Florida bill, there will be no training requirement to obtain a FL CWL.

Fourthly, a word about training. Under current law, to obtain a FL CWL one must demonstrate the safe discharge of a firearm in the presence of a Certified Instructor. The charlatans in the business (and sadly, there are many) have gone to the extreme of having a class with one shot, typically a .22LR, often into a bullet trap, and even suppressed (“silencer”), so the classes can be held in hotels. Or, group classes firing 5, 10, or 15 rounds together (as an aside, we have the most comprehensive classes in the area with 50 rds INDIVIDUAL live range training). My point here is that, though the training requirement will no longer be required if passed, training should be done because it is prudent and responsible, not because it is required. Sadly, many do not see this.

Fifthly, the FL CWL enables a firearms dealer (like us!) to waive the three-day waiting period that otherwise is mandatory between the time you purchase the gun and the time you can pick it up, which is used for completing the background check. A point-of-sale background check is always done but the waiting period is waived.

Sixthly, and here’s the one you probably would not think of… Under Federal Law you cannot be within 1,000 of a school with a gun. One of a few exceptions is if you have a FL CWL. So, if you are taking advantage of “permitless carry,” you have no such exemption, and that would apply to you even just driving by on the public street.

Seventhly (is that even a word?), if you have previously been denied or are otherwise ineligible for a FL CWL, you are prohibited from carrying anyway. You must be eligible for a FL CWL to exercise “permitless carry.”

Anyway, like it or not, whether you consider it enough or not, we will likely get this Bill passed into Law. That is a good thing, even if it is not enough.

If you think it is dangerous, then you are ignoring the record of gun safety across the country and the love of freedom, and maybe you are the dangerous one.

Now, go and get more training. Sadly, only 5% of gun owners have shot their gun within the past 12 months. THAT IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND FOOLHARDY.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.