Lawful concealed carry without a license or permit passed a tipping point in the country on Monday, and the Sunshine State made the difference. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Florida HB 543 into law this week, saying it "strengthens Floridians’ Second Amendment rights by allowing Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a government-issued permit."

The governor wasted no time on the measure after the bill was approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature late last week.
 

DeSantis at the signing ceremony on April 3 at the Governor's office, surrounded by members of pro-2A groups and state lawmakers.
DeSantis at the signing ceremony on April 3 at the Governor's office, surrounded by members of pro-2A groups and state lawmakers. (Photo: Florida Governor's office)


HB 543 eliminates the need for a Concealed Weapons License in the state of Florida. It will not cancel the more than 2.6 million CWLs already in circulation nor disband the program that issues them. It also does not affect laws relating to the purchase of a firearm, authorize those prohibited from legally possessing a firearm to carry one concealed, or change the current state-authorized "gun-free zones." 

When HB 543 takes effect in July, no less than 26 states will have active permitless carry laws. This includes not only Florida but also 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. In terms of population, more than 225 million Americans – almost two out of three – reside in these states. 
 

Map of permitless carry states
Florida brings the total to 26 states that have codified permitless concealed carry, with 25 of those joining Vermont since 2003. 


Despite the bill being described as "Constitutional Carry," and DeSantis stating, “Constitutional Carry is in the books,” this week, HB 543 covers concealed carry only, and not open carry. This leaves Florida as one of only three states – joined by deep blue California and Illinois – that still outlaws the practice, with the Sunshine State only recognizing slim exceptions allowed for those engaged in hunting and fishing.

Meanwhile, the response from the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the new Florida permitless concealed carry law was blunt, calling for more gun bans in more places, a Biden favorite invoked over 160 times since taking office. 

"The President continues to call on Congress to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and require background checks for all gun sales, and for state officials to take action at the state level," said Jean-Pierre on April 3.

Banner image: S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact at a Florida beach house, after Alex Coleville. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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