Florida House Committee Approves Gun Bill

Florida House Committee Approves Gun Bill

By Ryan Dailey, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would allow Floridians to carry concealed firearms without licenses began moving through the state House on Tuesday, as a debate emerged about whether the bill lives up to the “constitutional carry” label given by supporters.

The House Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law, & Government Operations Subcommittee voted 10-5 along party lines to approve the measure, after an at-times tense three-hour meeting.

The bill (HB 543) would eliminate a concealed-weapons licensing process that includes people undergoing criminal background checks and completing firearms-training courses. Under the proposal, people with concealed firearms would need to carry valid identification and “must display such identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.”

The majority of more than 100 people who testified or signed up to testify about the measure Tuesday opposed the bill — with numerous gun-rights supporters criticizing it for not going far enough. They urged lawmakers to allow what’s known as open carry, meaning firearms would not have to be concealed. Many said the bill’s “constitutional carry” moniker was a misnomer.

Chris Rose II of Gainesville described the measure as watered down and expressed frustration at what he characterized as a promise that was not delivered.

“This bill is not constitutional carry. This bill is not close to constitutional carry. This bill is not what the other half of the country has, and I am fed up with being a second-class citizen to those folks,” Rose told the panel.

Democratic lawmakers heavily criticized the bill as it would eliminate the firearms-training requirement. Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-North Miami, proposed adding various training requirements to the measure, but the Republican-dominated panel rejected all amendments sought by Democrats.

“It makes no sense that people have to pass an exam to drive a vehicle but not to own a gun,” Joseph said.

But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who spoke in favor of the bill on behalf of the Florida Sheriffs Association, said current training requirements tied to the licensing process are “meaningless.”

“The training that people get today is really meaningless training. It’s this online course for about 30 minutes, and that’s what you get,” Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri said the bill would not change current prohibitions on where people can carry concealed weapons, such as at schools and polling places, and said the bill “protects people’s right to protect themselves.”

Several groups that support gun-control measures warned the bill would make Florida less safe.

“The licensing process that this bill is trying to take away is a vital part of making sure that guns are kept out of the hands of folks that would misuse them,” said Alyssa Akbar of the organization March for Our Lives, which was formed after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

But Bill sponsor Chuck Brannan, R-Macclenny, described the proposal as simply removing the requirement that gun owners seek the government’s permission to carry firearms.

“If you’ve ever gotten a concealed-weapons permit, it certainly is not extensive training. So I think the differences are going to be negligible after this bill,” Brannan said.

The bill, filed for the legislative session that will start March 7, appears to be on a fast track in the House. It now needs approval only from the Judiciary Committee before it can go to the House floor. The Senate does not have a similar bill.

21 Responses to "Florida House Committee Approves Gun Bill"

  1. To answer the questions posted by Worker:

    – The bill allows ALL persons (now expanded to include non-residents of the state) who would be legally eligible for a CWL to conceal carry without obtaining a CWL. Persons prohibited from obtaining a CWL are explicitly NOT allowed to conceal carry under this law, with a 2nd degree misdemeanor charge for violation. If they has a conviction for a felony/domestic violence/injunctions, they will likely face additional felony charges as that is another level of offense. In short, if you are not eligible for a CWL, and you choose to conceal carry, you will likely have a list of charges, not just the one misdemeanor.

    – All persons who conceal carry must carry a photo ID and show it to a LEO upon demand, with a $25 civil penalty for failure to do so.

    – 3-day waiting period waiver for a handgun purchase – no change for CWL holders (lines 673-677 of bill)

    – Reciprocity with participating states for CWL – no change for license holders

  2. Consider the young father and husband just starting out in life. He cant afford yout Glock he does not have the financial means to own your big FWD 4 door PU truck and drive it out to Midway to ploop down your hundreds of dollars for fancy training. Heck his ride to work, TalTran or bicycle, dont even go out to Midway.
    Will your tender sensabilities be offended if he buys a High Point or other entry level 9mm for less than $250. Reads the owner’s safety book that comes with the gun and carries to protect himself and his family?
    Concealed Carry in Florida should legislate out of this session to be for EVERY Floridian and signed by America’s Gov. Otherwise it wont work to bring down our out of control crime. Keep in mind that, and that alone, is why Florida is doing this. Stop trying to be a CC Blocker already!
    I understand where you resistance posters here at T. R. are getting your fears from (just to be fair to all points of view). It comes from your idiot leftist majority Leon/Tally voter neighbors, friends, and coworkers. So dont get your p@anties bunched up I know y’all and love y’all.

  3. @ Commonsense = Exactly, I personally do not want to be some ones Collateral Damage because they buy a Gun and wait until they need it to shoot it for the first time only to have them scream and drop it because it scared them. I have seen that happen. During my Campaign I stressed that I am pro 2nd but for them to Practice Practice Practice and I also wanted MORE Pistol Ranges built in Leon County, that a perfect place for one IS at the Apalachee Parkway Regional Park. There is over 100 Acres there that they can build one.

  4. Some good points, info, and stories on the topic. Also some typical ill-informed blather. I appreciate the position of those who desire open carry, but as the saying goes, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good”. The Marxicrats have implemented the concept of mission creep to do many destructing things to our society and culture… particularly with respect to tradition, family, gender science, morality, freedoms, liberty, et al… I’m comfortable with this being a step in the right direction.

    Those opposed to this measure apply the typical nonsense arguments, so ignore the ignorant. Criminals don’t get a permit to carry their guns in their quest to do harm, so law abiding citizens should not be required to get a permit to protect themselves, their families, and their property from the criminals… it’s just that simple. Nothing in this measure eliminates the required background checks or waiting period to purchase a gun… and again, criminals do not follow those rules either.

    A gun is an inanimate object and does not commit crime of its own volition. It is the criminal holding the gun, baseball bat, knife, stick, whatever… that commits the crime. It is not the weapon in their hands, it is the evil in their heart… and the Marxicrats want nothing to do with addressing the root cause of THAT because they’ll likely see themselves in the mirror.

    Never forget that it is the Marxicrats themselves who spawned this rise in the self-protection movement with their never-ending Disparage, Defund, Dismantle, and Destroy the Police movement.

    But I’ll make you Marxicrats a deal… when you get the guns out of the hands of the criminals and millions of illegal aliens your leader has allowed to invade our country, then we can talk about we law abiding citizens and our guns… until then, just sit down.

  5. Lots of people talking on here about not wanting anyone to carry without proper training. Sounds great. But the vast majority of “training” that comes with a CWL is an absolute joke. And that means, for years, people have been carrying around you without any formal training. So far, they’ve got a pretty solid record.

    Any responsible gun owner—concealed carrier or not—will make every effort to train, train some more, get CWL insurance, and train even more. And many of us don’t just train on how to hit targets, but also how to recognize threats, where to sit in a restaurant to be prepared for anything… all the stuff some call paranoia. Many of us have far more training than the average cop. Just go to Talon Range almost any day and it’s packed with law-abiding citizens (and police officers) who want to train to be prepared for not only protecting themselves but those around them, as well.

    The Second Amendment is very clear—it matters not if you don’t like it. It’s also been said to death that bad guys don’t follow laws. Every gun control law is designed to take rights away from law-abiding citizens. Aggravated battery w/ a firearm, armed robbery, armed trespass, murder, possession of a firearm by a felon… all are already illegal. And almost every state with crazy-strict and, in most cases, unconstitutional gun laws in place has an equally crazy amount of gun crimes that not a single existing law does anything to stop.

    Police “respond” to violent incidents after the fact. You should be happy that good people around you are willing to protect you, even if you’re not willing to do so yourself.

  6. Insanity. More guns will mean more opportunity for gun violence.

    The Republicans like to portray gun violence as the result of street thugs. However, it’s much more likely to be situations like arguments, domestic violence and even road rage.

    As a reminder, on the NE side, AKA “good” side of town, we have had road rage out of control from older privledged white men who decided to shoot at each other over a car accident. This not only resulted in the death of one, but also threatened everyone near the situation at the Circle K where it happened.

    The Republicans lack basic common sense. Having more guns out there just gives the opportunity for people to use them.

    Vote for the smart people next time, not the party of reality TV clowns, white collar thieves and liars.

  7. Just read the 63-page bill. Most of the bill is about renumbering sections of the statute. Starting on page 18 are the CWL parts… an applicant for a CWL still must complete the meaningless training course in order to apply for the license. I suspect the training requirement is to comply with reciprocity agreements with other states.

    A person who concealed carries who is NOT eligible for a CWL, is still subject to a 2nd degree misdemeanor charge (status quo). If you are otherwise eligible for a CWL and conceal carry without a photo ID, it is a $25 non-criminal fine.

  8. Concealed carry is the only way to reduce out of control crime. If the 4 little G’s had thought granny down by TMRMC a week or so back might have reached into her purse and shot their lights out like Madea they would have left granny alone and not beat her up and jacked her car.
    If they saw a gun strapped round granny’s waist they would have tried to snatch it.
    Lawn mowers, 4 wheelers, cars, smart TV’S … whatever come with owners manuals. Well guess what guns do to. What is so complex about read manual point gun at bad guy pull trigger and save your life?
    Jeeze folks lawn mowers 4 wheelers cars smart TV’s can all kill you just as dead as guns can. You dont need govornmental regulation and manditory training to point gun pull trigger and save your life. But best of all the killers that would kill you for a few dollars wont know if even you liberals are carrying or not. Even liberals will benifit from Florida concealed carry.
    Do you want just the bad guys to have concealed carry?

  9. The bill is found @ https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/543/BillText/Filed/PDF

    There may be a Senate version that has not emerged from the Senate Bill Drafting Office, yet. A committee in the Senate can also introduce the bill as a “Proposed Committee Bill” (PCB) long after bill filing deadlines for individual “Member Bills.” It is not unheard of for one chamber to take a bill up from another chamber, when there is no (required) companion bill, and introduce it as a PCB. If Senate leadership is down with it, then it will happen. If Senate leadership is not down with it, then it won’t happen. May get used as a quid pro quo bargaining chip between Senate and House leadership, too.

  10. The vast majority of people with a CWL obtained it after taking a meaningless course. When I took the course we fired squib rounds from a 2″ barrel revolver into a bucket of sand on the back porch of an exhibit hall at the Fair Grounds. No kidding. The ONLY useful part of the course was a discussion about the use of lethal force under Florida Law, which is a discussion that EVERY person who owns a gun, period, should hear.

    Fortunately, I have owned and used handguns, and pursued knowledge about them for decades prior to obtaining a CWL, so it didn’t really matter. I jumped through that hoop.

    There are always dumb people who will conceal carry without proper training, including many who currently have a CWL. This law will reveal a few knuckleheads, certainly, but it is time for the nanny state mentality to just stop.

    I will keep my CWL active because I like the reciprocity that comes with the license in other states.

  11. All laws have unintended consequences. This one will be no exception. The one that comes to mind, and has already been mentioned, is people possessing a gun without receiving proper safety and operating instruction. Like any other “machine,” you have to read or learn how to operate it before you can safely put it to use. Remember when you bought your first riding lawnmower or Smart TV?

    In real life (remember that?) guns don’t work in the glamorous manner that’s been depicted in movies and TV programs. The handsome hero or beautiful heroin just simply pulls-out their gun and very quickly and easily puts an end to the evil villain. Pretty neat, huh?

    For those who’ve never fired a pistol, even a low caliber 22, you may be in for quite a surprise after that first shot. With a higher caliber 9mm or 38, after your ears stop ringing (if you’re not wearing ear protection), you may find yourself trying to guess where the bullet went. After you swear you were aiming exactly at the target when you fired, you’ll note that the bullet didn’t even hit anywhere on the target. It will take a lot of practice before you’ll even have a chance of becoming an accurate shooter.

    This law is liable to unleash a rash of people buying a gun and carrying it without ever having fired it or knowing how to properly use it in a highly stressed, chaotic and threatening emergency situation. Keep in mind that even highly trained and experienced police officers have difficulties when the use of their gun is required. Are you better than them with your gun?

    If you’re going to pull-out you concealed weapon, you’re going to possibly kill someone. Do you have the mindset to do that? If not, don’t plan to carry. Don’t even buy a gun unless you’re willing to spend the time to use it safely and properly.

  12. Concealed carry has never made any sense. If you have a gun on you, I’d rather know you do. As critics have said none of what we have in Florida, or is even being proposed, is even close to constitutional carry. There’s no place in the 2nd amendment that says you can own and possess a gun as long as you pay a fee, get training/ or be a vet, sign a form, get a card, and then and only then, can you carry one in public but you have to hide it under your shirt, pants, or jacket. I’m a card carrying veteran and I’m all for safety and taking guns away from criminals but don’t try and pretend this is is constitutional carry. Call it what it is very, very slightly less “infringing.”

  13. @Pat — great story. Mine’s similar and I fully agree that people need at least rudimentary training.

    I still recall target shooting in my early teens with my dad, a neighbor, and his son about my age. We were shooting .22 rifles. The son had rested the rifle on his hip and turned to say something with the rifle barrel passing by all of us. I yelled at him, and his only comment was, “it isn’t loaded”. I’ve carried that with me my entire life and it prompts me to speak up when I see someone being stupid with a firearm.

    Some years ago I went to the old range off of Springhill Rd. for some target shooting. I got there and saw a state (GFC/FWC) firearms/handgun class for women. There was 1 guy running the class and about 15 women there. The formal teaching was over and the women were on their own, and doing just about everything wrong. Two of them had found an old .410 box on the ground in front of their station and began firing at it. Obvious newcomers to shooting they missed the box repeatedly, but it being just inches from the concrete sidewalk that supported the targets their rounds were doing some really bad things. I commented to the instructor that he had a problem there, but he just dismissed me and went back to chatting up the cute woman. That’s the last time I ever tried to shoot there.

  14. My parents, who were married and employed with great jobs, bought me my first BB gun and pocketknife in kindergarten. At age 10, my parents bought me a Remington 552 Speed Master 22 rifle that I killed a ton of rabbits in Alaska with. Before I was 12, I was allowed to take my Mom’s Winchester Model 12 in 12 ga ptarmigan hunting. And my Dad, let me carry his Ruger Blackhawk (3 screw model) 44 mag to the dump for target practice. Back in the seventies, I can remember going to a dump on the south side of Tallahassee with my Mom’s shotgun and shooting snakes. Then in 1977, I joined the Marine Corps and learned more about firearms. Because of that history, I was not required to take any training before getting my CCW permit.

    I really do not want someone to own any firearm without some training. At Taillon Arm’s Church Security forum, Charlie made a great point, where does the bullet go after you pulled the trigger. Will it pass through the target and hit someone innocent? I.E. Alec Baldwin Rust Movie shooting. Any responsible person should get some training before loading their first gun. Now, your neighbor may provide that training, or you can attend a professional course. I think you should have some training.

    With the drastic rise in crime in Tallahassee and the rest of the country and the person who acted in self-defense always being charged, I purchased CCW insurance from a great company. And I always take extra care not to get into a position that I may be required to use deadly force. But just in case, should I use deadly force, my CCW insurance company has informed me what to do, what to say and they will provide an experienced attorney and bail, so I do not go broke defending myself.

    At David, H. I am upgrading my concealed carry piece this year from a “Son of Sam” Series One, Charter Arms 44 special. Until a couple days ago, I had decided that the Bersa 380 Thunder was the smart choice. But some cop friends of mine say, it may not actually be powerful enough to end the threat. So, I am back at square one comparing 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP.

    To all you readers out there, today’s under-privileged youth doesn’t value your life one iota. Every day, the scum of the community is arrested, charged and released on bail, sometimes before the arresting officer finishes his/her shift. Do your research. Talk to your friends. Youtube is full of videos on this subject. For less than $300.00, you can buy a new pistol capable of protecting you and your family. The cops are only there to clean up the mess. When seconds count, the cops are minutes away. Like 90 minutes away in Gadsden County. Our local elected officials have no intension of getting tough on crime.
    You should be able to open carry. Not that I think that is best. I’d rather have my pistol in my pocket ready to draw if the situation requires it.

    And to Gov. DeSantis, direct your staff to answer emails from constituents. The Governor’s office is worse than Rubio’s office on answering emails.

  15. Our local felon gangs don’t need a permit it seems, why should you or I?
    Stiff sentences for gun crimes, no deals, no parole, lock em up.

  16. A few of unanswered questions (at least I haven’t been able to find the answers). This says it will eliminate the concealed carry process…not the requirement for a license/permit. What about the other things that come with being a concealed permit holder?

    What will this do to the waiver for the 3-day waiting period on purchases?

    What about reciprocity for concealed carry in other states?

  17. I got my Carry Permit. It was easy and it only took about a Week because it was during Covid and I had to make an Appointment to the Dept. of Agriculture to finish it. I would prefer that People get a Carry Permit so they at least learn the Basics of Gun Ownership. The last thing I want is to be Collateral Damage from someone who never fired a Gun before. The one change I would like to see is, let it be OK to be seen. I have a Sneaky Pete Holster for my little 380 but the end of the Spare Clip can be seen, It should not be against the law for Bullets and Clips to be seen and it should be OK for the Gun to be seen as long as it is mostly covered and in a Holster.

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