Florida GOP leaders want to get rid of gun permits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Saying gun owners don’t need a government permit to protect their God-given rights, the Speaker of the Florida House on Monday proposed legislation to eliminate concealed gun permits, a a move that Democrats say would make a state with a history of horrific mass shootings less safe.

Republican leaders, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have expressed support for the idea, so the bill should have no problem passing in a legislature with an outright GOP majority.

“What we are dealing with here today is a universal right that applies to every man or woman regardless of race, gender, creed or background,” President Paul Renner said at a news conference.

Democrats immediately responded that the proposal could lead to more gun violence and incidents. They said the bill defined by constitutional carry advocates will allow people to buy guns without training or background checks.

“Untrained carriage is what it is,” said Democratic Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, who was mayor of Parkland when a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student fatally shot 17 students and faculty. “You’re not making our communities or schools or other places safer with this.”

Renner said law-abiding gun owners will take safety seriously.

“Anyone who owns guns and uses guns knows that safety comes first,” Renner said. “This is important, but it’s not necessary. Then the permission and all aspects of that permission will go away.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver have become advocates of tougher gun regulations after they lost their 17-year-old son Joaquin in the 2018 Parkland High School massacre. They said that with more people carrying guns without restrictions, Florida will become a more dangerous state.

“How about some paperwork, some norms, before taking that step. It’s not fair and it doesn’t protect (the wearer) from anything. It’s actually endangering a lot of people,” Manuel Oliver said.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said people who want to harm others won’t be stopped by the permit requirement.

“Criminals don’t get a pass. None of them. They don’t care to obey the law. Our law-abiding citizens have the immediate right, assurance and freedom to protect themselves,” Ivey said.

About half of states allow people to carry a gun without a permit, a movement that’s growing especially among conservative states.

Florida gun owners would still have to hide their guns in public, although there has been discussion to allow gun owners to carry guns openly.


Associated Press writer Terry Spencer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida contributed to this report.

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