As the legislation that would make Florida the 26th State to legalize some form of “permitless carry” worked its way through the Florida legislature, I wrote an Article describing it’s specifications and effects. (see What’s this talk about Constitutional Carry? – Command Performance Firearms and Security Training )
On April 3, 2023, Gov. DeSantis signed the legislation into law. The law itself is 106 pages (that’s what happens when a bunch of attorneys are locked in a room together). It can rather simply be broken down into several points.
Once again, it is NOT Constitutional Carry! Anybody who calls it that is clueless. Sorry, but true. It is “permitless carry” or if you want to be more specific, “permitless concealed carry”, as the laws prohibiting open (unconcealed carry)(with a few exceptions) in Florida remain.
Basically, if you would qualify to obtain the State of Florida CWL (Concealed Weapon License), you do not need to get one to carry. That may sound wacky but what it means is that it is not green light for “prohibited persons” to carry, That is still illegal and has been going on all along. (Lefties, that’s correct — criminals do not follow gun laws). The laws for getting the FL CWL can be found here: https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Concealed-Weapon-License/Applying-for-a-Concealed-Weapon-License/Eligibility-Requirements
With the permit gone, so are the fees and training requirement. To clarify, you will still pay the fees to get a FL CWL if desired.
Those who choose to carry “permitless” will have to provide identification on demand to a law enforcement officer.
The laws will apply the same to other weapons that now require a CWL: electric weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie.
The same places that were off-limits to weapons or specifically firearms carry are still off-limits.
A few extra things were added which are good but do not directly affect carry: a standardized school threat-assessment tool is to be developed; the State’s laws allowing school personnel to be trained and carry is expanded to private schools; all law-enforcement agencies will be required to have response strategies for active violence (the lack of which has cost many lives nationwide); and the establishment of a firearms-detection dog program.
It also allows non-residents to carry here permitless if they would be able to qualify for our FL CWL.
So why get the FL CWL? Below I reiterate the points already published in the previously-cited article. To them I would add one that heard from an attorney who specializes in firearms defense. He believes that for some time overzealous and/or uninformed police and prosecutors will continue to arrest and prosecute what they believe or wish were violations. I certainly agree with this as far as police, who are dependent on their department’s often faulty communications to know what and how to enforce the law.
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 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 feet 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, it is now 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 (from us!). Sadly, only 5% of gun owners have shot their gun within the past 12 months. THAT IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND FOOLHARDY.