There’s a lot of misinformation about the new permitless carry law here in Florida. The governor signed House Bill 543 on April 3, 2023, which allows Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a government-issued concealed weapon license. The law went into effect July 1, 2023.
When you get right down to it, not much has changed. The new law does not give blanket permission for everyone to carry a concealed firearm. People still must meet all the same criteria as if they were getting a concealed weapon license: they must be at least 21 years old and without any felony convictions or any other disqualifying conditions. Nor does it change where a person may legally carry a concealed firearm. They were not, and are still not allowed in schools, colleges, courthouses, government buildings, or bars. Concealed firearms also may not be carried in any business or private property where the owner has prohibited them. The law doesn’t change who is allowed to buy a firearm, nor does it change the laws regarding background checks or the mandatory three-day waiting period required to purchase a firearm.
The law is not open carry. Open carry – wearing or carrying a firearm in such a manner as to be clearly visible – is still not legal in Florida except in very particular circumstances. You may openly carry a firearm only if you are engaged in hunting, fishing, camping, or test or target shooting, or while on the way to or from these activities.
Concealed weapon licenses are still available, and even after the law takes effect some people may wish to get one. People with a concealed weapon license avoid the three-day waiting period when purchasing a firearm. The license also enables people to carry concealed weapons in other states that have a reciprocity agreement with Florida.
While people may not need to have a license when they carry a concealed firearm, they do need to carry identification – and they’re required to provide it to law enforcement upon request.
The training requirements to obtain a concealed weapon license were minimal. In theory, someone could get their license after a classroom portion and then only firing a weapon one time. The new bill provides funds to law enforcement agencies to offer meaningful firearms training to citizens. When you carry a weapon, you are responsible for that weapon and all actions you take with it. Robust, comprehensive, ongoing training is the responsibility of every citizen who owns or carries a firearm to make sure that they keep us more, and not less safe. Do your part by taking education seriously. Learn the law, seek out training to become proficient – because your life, and that of your family, may depend upon it.
You can learn more about the new law at www.pcsoweb.com/permitlesscarry.
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