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Florida Introduces House Bill 543: Allowing Gun Owners To Carry Without A License

By Abraiya Ruffin

The Florida Legislative session has started right here in Tallahassee, Florida. Lawmakers from various cities and districts are meeting at the Capitol to discuss bills, legislative proposals, and more. 

One of the most recent proposals being discussed is House Bill 543 titled, ‘Concealed Carry of Weapons and Firearms Without a License. ‘

According to the Florida Senate website, this bill would authorize a person to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm if they are licensed to do so or meet specified requirements. It also requires a person who is carrying a concealed weapon or firearm without a license to carry identification and provide proof of that document but only upon demand by law enforcement. 

With a supermajority for the GOP in both the House and Senate, Florida Republicans haven’t faced too much trouble with their political agenda this session. Some support the bill but are demanding restrictions. 

“You should not need a permission slip to carry a concealed weapon, that is why I support this bill,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said. “But what are we going to do about school safety?” 

HB 543 prohibits a person who is carrying a concealed weapon or firearm without a license from carrying it in specified locations including; a school-sponsored event or on school property. The bill expands even further by permitting nonresidents to carry a concealed weapon or firearm in this state if they meet the same requirements as a Florida resident. 

“This allows law-abiding citizens to rightfully carry their weapon without interference from the government,” said Florida Speaker of the House, Paul Renner. He also stated that the House may look into open-carry legislation in the future. 

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) 2021 annual crime report, in the reported 1110 murder cases, 889 of those were firearm related. The statistics also read that in the 59,858 aggravated assault cases, 21,856 of those also involved a firearm. 

While some residents are appreciative of the bill allowing them to carry without their license on hand, others are concerned about what this could mean in terms of safety. 

Tallahassee resident, Valerie McEachin, said the thought of this new legislation is scary and may only bring more violence. “I believe it is irresponsible to be able to carry a gun without a permit. Too many people are getting killed in this country.” 

Florida Democrats suggested that Governor Ron DeSantis is painting his way to presidency and tanking the state of Florida in the process. 

On April 3rd Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 543 into law. It is expected to take effect on July 1.