Lake County Republican state Rep. Anthony Sabatini wants to let Floridians carry concealed guns without undergoing a background check or having any training in handling firearms.
This week, Sabatini filed a bill (HB 273) that would let Floridians carry guns without applying for a concealed-weapons permit from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. More than 2 million Floridians have obtained concealed-weapons permits under a system that requires a background check and minimal training.
Instead, Sabatini’s bill, which will be considered during the 2020 session starting in January, would implement what is called a “constitutional carry” system.
Florida Gun Rights, a group that support the legislation, describes the change like this:
“Currently, anyone who wants to carry a handgun for self-defense must first [ask] for permission, record their fingerprints and personal information with the government and pay expensive fees,” the group said.
“But under constitutional carry, any citizen who is legally allowed to possess a firearm will be allowed to carry it. Period. End of story,” the group said.
Sabatini says his bill would make Floridians “more safe while staying consistent with the Second Amendment.”
“We as lawmakers must do all we can to protect the civil rights of Floridians,” he said in a written statement.
Gun safety groups strongly oppose the measure.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says nearly every state historically passed laws requiring a permitting process for concealed weapons as a safety measure.
“The gun lobby has pressured states to eliminate this fundamental safety standard, allowing people who have never passed a background check or fired a gun in their lives to carry hidden, loaded guns in public crowds as soon as they buy them,” the California-based group said.
The Giffords Law Center says a dozen states have some form of “constitutional carry” laws, including Vermont, which has never placed any restrictions on concealed weapons.
Those states “take essentially zero steps to prevent demonstrably dangerous and irresponsible people from acquiring and carrying hidden, loaded weapons around public streets, buildings, restaurants, parks and businesses,” the group said.