The Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to House Republicans passing permitless carry in the Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law & Government Operations Subcommittee. Permitless carry is dangerous and goes against the advice of public safety experts and the will of Florida voters who know this bill will only exacerbate gun violence and make it easier for dangerous people to carry a gun in our communities. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to have a hearing on the bill later this month.
“Supporting permitless carry is a reckless and dangerous decision by House Republicans that’ll only put our communities at risk,” said Lindsey Shook, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’ve seen the impacts in other permitless carry states – often at the objection of law enforcement: when everyone is armed in public, any random confrontation from road rage to a bar fight can turn into a deadly shootout. We won’t sit idly by while politics take precedence over common sense and the public safety of Floridians.”
“Today, our lawmakers decided to put their careers over protecting our communities,” said Alexis Dorman, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action. “We have seen an overwhelming amount of gun violence in our state – now, we’re at an even greater risk of senseless shootings and people carrying guns in our communities without basic training or a background check.”
Just last week in Florida, 11 people were wounded in a shooting in Lakeland only a few hours after Republicans announced they intend to pass permitless. This month also marks the 5 year mark of the mass school shooting in Parkland; and six years ago we had the horrific mass shooting at Pulse, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando — the last thing we need is to make it easier for people to carry guns without a background check or any safety training.
Permitless carry would allow people to carry concealed firearms in public places without a permit, criminal history check, or safety training, dismantling Florida’s system of responsible gun ownership. Instead of pushing dangerous policies that make our communities less safe, Florida lawmakers should be working to advance common sense gun safety measures that will save lives.
Because Florida does not require background checks by unlicensed sellers, someone can buy a gun online with no background check — and the permit may be the only background check a person ever receives. Permitless carry takes away a vital tool from law enforcement to ensure a person carrying a gun in public isn’t a criminal with a dangerous history. Law enforcement across the country, including in Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina have been vocal opponents of permitless carry legislation.
Concealed carry permitting systems enjoy overwhelming support nationally. The majority of Americans support concealed carry permitting systems that help ensure that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public — 88 percent of Americans think you should get a permit before carrying a concealed gun in public. Over 80 percent of gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree that high safety standards are critical in issuing concealed carry permits.
In an average year over 2,800 people are killed by guns in Florida, and over 5,200 more 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.