Constitutional Carry Coming to Florida?
March 30, 2022 – Updated at end of article on 4/14/2022
Governor Calls on Legislature to pass Constitutional Carry
Could Constitutional Carry be coming to Florida? If Governor Ron DeSantis has his way, the answer is yes. Constitutional Carry also known as permitless or Vermont Carry, allows anyone who can lawfully possess a firearm to carry one without any licensing requirement. Yesterday, Governor DeSantis called on the Florida Legislature to meet in special session to finish business left incomplete during the latest regular legislative session. On Monday, Governor DeSantis requested lawmakers return to Tallahassee to hold a special session to deal with the property insurance market and discuss additional requirements for condominium building inspections. However, on Tuesday, DeSantis changed his plan and used his power to call a special session, taking discretion away from the legislature. The session will likely run from April 19 – 22 and will address the redistricting plan that Governor DeSantis vetoed yesterday. The Governor’s other priorities will also be addressed.
Constitutional Carry Spreading throughout the Country
In the last two years, nine states have adopted some form of Constitutional Carry, bringing the total to 26 states. Many of the other states with Constitutional Carry have modified versions and many still issue licenses or permits. States may still issue a license so that residents who travel could still carry while visiting other states with reciprocity. Residents of Vermont are frequently unable to carry a firearm with them when they travel as they do not have reciprocity with any other states since they do not issue any permit or license. Vermont residents can only carry a firearm in states that have Constitutional Carry and apply it to non-state residents.
Would you still need a license or permit?
Other states that have passed Constitutional Carry laws and still offer permits or licenses. This allows the holders of those licenses additional rights above those carrying under the state’s Constitutional Carry laws alone. For instance, people who carry under a state’s Constitutional Carry law are unable to carry into bars, or onto school property, but those with a state issued permit have the right to carry in these locations. Further, under the Federal Gun Free School Zone act, a person may not carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school subject to several exceptions, one of which is if the individual possesses a carry license or permit issued by the state in which the school is. With no license or permit, most people will need to plan routes that do not pass by schools to stay legal under federal law.
Will Constitutional Carry pass in Florida? What will it look like?
Will Constitutional Carry pass in Florida and what will it look like if it does? For several years, bills that would allow the carrying of firearms have been proposed in the Florida Legislature and have died in committee. This happened again in the 2022 regular legislative session. However, the proposed bill may be instructive as to what Constitutional Carry would look like in Florida. The proposed bill allows anyone who can lawfully possess a firearm to carry it either openly or concealed. Carry would be limited to those places a person who currently holds a CWFL can carry a concealed weapon. Further, the bill still restricts the carrying of firearms in places listed in Florida Statute 790.06(12). Finally, the bill creates a reciprocity license for those who wish to carry a firearm while traveling.
No Action Yet Taken!
UPDATE: As of April 14, the special session of the Florida Legislature called by Governor DeSantis does NOT include Constitutional Carry on the agenda. In fact, his proclamation calling for the special session included only one item: “legislation relating to the establishment of congressional districts for the State of Florida.” Unless the Governor sends a formal message instructing the Legislative leadership to consider constitutional carry during the special session it will not be considered.
Will our state join those which recognize the Constitution as the only license needed to carry a firearm? We will provide updates when the Legislature meets and if they act on the Governor’s request.
To learn more about recent changes in Florida’s Carry laws click here.