Last Session, Florida Lawmakers and Governor DeSantis Enacted Permitless Carry, Despite The Majority of Floridians Opposing Efforts to Erode Common Sense Gun Reform
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements as the Florida State Legislature begins their legislative session. Last session, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed permitless carry into law behind closed doors despite research showing it could increase gun violence and polling that showed 77 percent of Floridians oppose permitless carry.
“As our lawmakers head back into legislative session, we will continue to honor and stand with survivors to call on Florida lawmakers to advance a common-sense gun safety agenda that will save lives – and also attack the root of the crisis,” said Katie Hathaway, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our institutions that propel fuel hate-filled rhetoric and easy access to guns are enabling our gun violence crisis and hate-fueled violence – producing a lethal environment for Floridians.”
“Students like myself know all too well that we live in a world where shots can ring out anywhere, anytime. Following the devastating mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, our lawmakers passed policies to make our schools and communities safer,” said Cole Robinson, a volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action and junior at Leon High School. “Lawmakers should work to expand these life-saving laws and reject efforts to dismantle these important policies that are widely supported by Floridians. Lawmakers have already filed bills which would eliminate mandatory waiting periods for firearms purchases and lower the age requirement to purchase guns from 21 to 18 years old – they must stop putting Floridan lives at risk.”
For the upcoming legislation, the Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks are calling for:
- Improving Florida’s secure storage law to better protect Florida children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and thefts. Under current law, Florida residents are required to store firearms securely if a child can gain access. Florida should improve its law and require guns to be stored securely anytime they are left in vehicles. In recent years, guns have been stolen from cars at an increasingly alarming rate, and cars are now the largest source of stolen firearms.
Two bills have already been introduced that would reverse common sense legislation passed by a Republican-led Florida government after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Representative Joel Rudman has introduced HB 17, which would eliminate mandatory waiting periods for firearms purchases and would allow gun dealers to deliver firearms to people after three business days–even if a background check has not been completed.
Reps. Bobby Payne and Tyler Sirois have introduced HB 1223, which lowers the minimum age at which a person may purchase firearms from 21 to 18. Lowering the age while already allowing permitless carry goes against the will of law enforcement, local authorities, and other public safety experts who know this bill will only exacerbate the risk of gun violence and make it easier for kids and dangerous people to carry a gun in Florida.
Positively, Rep. Casello has introduced bill HB 1087, which requires people to securely store firearms and ammunition left in motor vehicles. Research shows gun thefts often divert guns into an underground market where people with dangerous histories can easily gain access. That is why stolen guns are often recovered at crime scenes, including at the scenes of homicides and other violent crimes. This bill will help combat stolen guns falling into the wrong hands.
In an average year over 2,900 people are killed by guns in Florida, and over 5,200 are shot and wounded. Gun violence costs Florida $40.3 billion each year, of which $875.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Florida is available here.