By Lee Williams
SAF Investigative Journalism Project
More than half the country now allows the concealed carry of firearms without the need for a permission slip from the government.
Florida became the 26th state – the majority state – Monday morning when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 543 at 8:15 a.m.
The new law takes effect July 1.
“It’s a huge step forward for Florida and a monumental step forward for the country,” said Art Thomm, state director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
Thomm replaced Florida’s longtime NRA lobbyist, Marion Hammer, in June. In just months, Thomm got an unlicensed concealed-carry bill through both chambers and onto DeSantis’ desk.
The new law allows law-abiding Floridians to carry concealed handguns without seeking a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License, or CWFL, from the government. However, the state’s successful CWFL program will remain in effect. Today, more than 2.4 million Floridians have a CWFL.
The new law does not include a training requirement, which was a major concern for its critics. But neither does it change who is eligible to either purchase or carry a firearm. Its proponents say it “levels the playing field” for law abiding Floridians.
CS/HB 54 does not allow for the open carry of arms, which is why some said the legislation is not “constitutional carry” and did not go far enough.
The law was supported by NRA, GOA, NAGR and Florida Carry, Inc., pro-gun groups which have all promised to seek open carry legislation.
Lee Williams is a board member of Florida Carry, Inc.
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