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 Senate Republicans passing permitless carry in the Criminal Justice Committee. Permitless carry is a dangerous policy that 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. Several Students Demand Action volunteers provided public testimony today in opposition to this legislation.
Tomorrow, Tuesday February 21 at 12:30 PM, House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell and other lawmakers will join Florida Students Demand Action volunteers, Florida State University and Florida A&M student leaders, and other gun safety advocates for a press conference to talk about the dangers of the permitless carry bill following the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
“Gun violence continues to tear our communities apart and shatter families — passing this bill is even more cruel as we remember the mass shooting in Parkland this month and continue to grieve from the shooting at Michigan State University.” said Alexis Dorman, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action. “It’s shameful that our lawmakers refuse to put our safety above their political ambitions, but we are not going to stand idly by –we will continue to show up and fight to keep our communities safe.”
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.