TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Senate is expected to pass a bill allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit on Thursday. It comes as the debate around guns heats up following the Nashville school shooting.
If approved by the Senate, the bill, HB 543, will head to the Gov. DeSantis’ desk. He’s already said he would sign the bill.
Days after three children and three staff members at a Nashville school were killed, Florida lawmakers took a moment of silence.
“It doesn’t give me pause,” said Sen. Jay Collins, a Republican from Tampa. “Good guys with a gun are the antidote to, as we saw in the body cam footage, to bad guys with a gun.”
Democrats have said it’s a dangerous and tone-deaf policy that’s hidden in legislation aimed at improving school safety, while Republicans said it will bolster Floridians’ second amendment rights.
Before the Senate votes, they will hear proposed amendments, including one that would allow guns in the chambers.
“Now an individual will be able to carry in aisle five at Publix with my wife and kids, then I think it’s only fair that they should be able to carry in the same room that we are,” said Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat from Broward County.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, more than 2.8 million Floridians have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. However, if the bill is signed into law, Floridians would no longer need a state-issued permit to carry a gun.
It would also waive various training requirements. The policy would have no effect on current requirements for purchasing a gun. If the bill is signed by Gov. DeSantis, it would go into effect July 1.