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Bill to allow 'constitutional carry' in Florida advances in the Senate

The legislation would get rid of the requirement to have a permit to conceal carry in the state.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida is another step closer to permitless carry — a practice sometimes referred to as constitutional carry or permitless carry — as the bill to allow the legislation advanced Monday night in the Senate.

The Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee moved the bill, SB 150, forward in a 5-3 vote. Should the bill become law, it would get rid of the requirement for a Florida resident to have a permit, or training, to conceal carry a gun. However, it would require the person to carry a valid state ID.

"I believe that law-abiding citizens follow the rules and they try to do their very best they can to uphold those rules and protect those things around them," said State Sen. Jay Collins, R-Tampa, the bill's sponsor. "Criminals are going to criminal. Those who'll commit crimes are going to commit crimes."

Collins followed the Criminal Justice Committee meeting Monday with a tweet that said, in part, "It's time to put some faith in law-abiding citizens."

State Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-Miami-Dade, spoke with 10 Tampa Bay and said he believes the support for the bill is fracturing because it still bans carrying guns in schools, bars, courthouses, the Capitol gallery and committee meetings. 

"This bill strikes the right balance," Collins said. "It aligns the benefits and restrictions of concealed carry and those who lawfully want to carry without a license, while at the same time, standardizing processes for school personnel and law enforcement to identify and communicate when a student possesses a significant safety threat. No services and resources can be made available to the parents and students."

The bill now heads to the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy in early March.

At the beginning of February, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters if the bill on "constitutional carry" made it to his desk, he would support the legislation.

"I’ve said on both of those we are for constitutional carry, we’re for pro-life," DeSantis said. "I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff and we will sign."

Constitutional carry is also another legislative matter DeSantis stated he's "always supported."

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