Tallahassee – With critics on the other side taking aim at the proposal, a Senate panel on Thursday brought Florida a step closer to allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a license.
The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee approved the bill 13 to 6 in line with party line (SB 150) and is ready for Senate-wide consideration. Senate sponsor Jay Collins, Republican Tampa, said Thursday’s minor changes made the bill identical to the House’s version (HB 543) and ready to go to the House wide.
About 50 people signed up to testify on Thursday, most of whom were against the bill.
“On the one hand, some people feel that guns are a problem. I believe that good people and law-abiding citizens protect citizens,” Collins said.
Under a long-standing law, gun owners were required to obtain a state secret weapons license in order to carry a gun. This process includes completing a training course and passing a background check. The bill would do away with the requirement, but says people who carry guns must be able to show valid identification “upon request by law enforcement officials.”
Democrats and gun control advocates have criticized the removal of training requirements. But Collins and other bill supporters question the effectiveness of the training.
“That training, when you look into it, doesn’t make anyone a sniper or a gun expert,” Collins said.
“So if you feel you’re under-trained, why don’t you do something to make it better?” asked Democratic Boca Raton Senator Lori Berman.
“No training is required to buy a gun, and that (buying) process is no different with this bill. I got
Several members of Moms Demand Action, formed after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, voted against the bill at a meeting Thursday.
“I am absolutely terrified of what this law will bring to our state. Florida is already on the verge of gun violence. Children are dying, communities are devastated. Katie Hathaway, member of Moms Demand Action, said, “It is a real shame to promote this dangerous law that will end our decades-old permit system.
The National Rifle Association, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association are among the groups supporting the proposal, which has been called the “unauthorized carry” or “constitutional carry” bill. increase. have an arm
But some gun rights advocates have challenged the “constitutional carry” label, saying the bill should go further by allowing “open carry,” where firearms don’t need to be hidden. I’m here.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled his support for the open carry proposal this week. But he also indicated his intention to approve the Conceal Carry bill.
“I’m going to sign their (legislators) action. So even if they drafted an unauthorized bill and it got to my desk, saying it contained everything I wanted.” I have no intention of refusing it because it is not always possible.
DeSantis is widely regarded as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and his comments were cited by open-carry supporters.
“If the governor can’t add open carry to this bill with a very friendly Congress, how will the governor act to persuade Congress to take some action if he becomes president?” Do you think? It shows the political impotence of Governor DeSantis if open carry is not added to this bill,” said Matt Collins, a Winter Park resident speaking at a Senate panel.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who represented the Florida Sheriff’s Association and supported the bill, said he did not support the open-carry law.
In addition to the gun issue, the bill will make a series of school safety changes.
For example, the measure would require $42 million to be provided to state departments of education for a “School Enhancement” grant program aimed at improving school building safety.
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https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/03/09/bill-allowing-floridians-to-carry-concealed-firearms-without-license-heads-to-full-senate/ Senate bill to allow Florida residents to conceal and carry unlicensed firearms