Legislation that would make Florida the 26th constitutional carry state in the Union was introduced in the state House on Monday.
The bill is HB 543.
HB 543’s summary says the proposed legislation does the following:
Authorizes person to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm if he or she is licensed to do so or meets specified requirements; requires person who is carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license to carry identification & display upon demand by law enforcement; prohibits person who is carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license from carrying such weapon or firearm in specified locations; authorizes nonresident to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm in this state if he or she meets same requirements as resident.
The summary of the bill also makes clear that a constitutional carry framework does not erase penalties for carrying a firearm into prohibited areas.
For example, it notes that HB 543 “provides person authorized to carry concealed weapon or concealed firearm without license is subject to specified penalties for possessing such weapon or firearm at school-sponsored event or on school property.”
Florida Carry issued a press release on the introduction of HB 543, noting that Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis was present in support of the constitutional carry bill when it was introduced.
The bill’s chief House sponsor, Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) commented on the legislation, saying, “We don’t operate in a vacuum. What’s happening in our society now is Defund the Police 2.0. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my history on earth that we’ve needed the right to keep and bear arms more than now.”
Ammoland reports that a companion bill has been introduced in the Florida Senate as well.
The Senate version is sponsored by state Senator Jay Collins (R), who said the legislation comes at a “monumental moment” and represents a “major breakthrough for our freedom.”
There are currently 25 constitutional carry states in the United States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.