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Permitless vs. concealed carry: what’s changing and what’s not

Written by on Saturday, July 1, 2023

Starting Saturday, July 1, Floridians will be able to carry a concealed gun without a permit or required training. What will change?

By Ramon Lopez

Original Air Date: June 30, 2023


Official Transcript

Johannes Werner: Permitless carry is upon us. Starting Saturday, July 1st, Floridians will be able to carry a concealed gun without a permit or required training. What will change? Ramon Lopez talked to cops and gun store owners to understand how the new law will work in comparison to previous concealed carry regulations.

Host: House Bill 543, known as permitless carry and constitutional carry, covers handguns, tasers, tear gas guns, knives and billy clubs. It does not change who can purchase a firearm or the waiting period to purchase a handgun. Firearms are still prohibited in certain places, such as schools, bars, courthouses, public meetings, airports, etc. And HB 543 does not mean “open carry.”

Those carrying concealed as of July 1st must follow two requirements: carry valid identification while armed, and give ID to an officer if asked to do so. Floridians are not required to undergo a background check for their weapon or submit fingerprints. Florida residents who already have a concealed carry license no longer need to carry that license around with them and they remain valid.

Mike Doherty, the firearms instructor at the Take Aim gun store and shooting range on 301 near Sarasota Airport describes how the rules have changed. He speaks for himself, not Take Aim, his employer.

Mike Doherty: The current law in Florida requires the citizens take a in-depth course on Florida statute, and just as importantly, if not more, safe handling of firearms and the proper use of firearms in the event they’re forced to use or consider using a firearm to stop a legal threat.

Host: What does HB 543 require?

MD: It does not require you to take that course anymore. And so, the new law basically gives you the right to be uneducated.

Host: The veteran firearms instructor said the training he provides is more extensive than what was required by the state of Florida.

MD: So our course here is comprehensive, including your range qualification. It normally goes from 10 in the morning till about 1, and then we go on to the range and we do a fundamental basic firearms qualification to make sure that you’re safe in the use of the firearm, and you’re capable of operating a firearm and using it in an effective manner. But our focus is on safety.

Host: Doherty said gun safety training varies as currently provided.

MD: There’s a wide variety in the content and the quality that is delivered by firearms instructors, not only in Florida, but across the U.S. So the short answer is no, all firearms instructors do not give you the same education or quality content.

Host: Concealed carry previously required handgun owners to undergo firearms training, but HB 543 does not. This concerns gun safety and gun control advocates, and security experts. Currently, more than 2.5 million Floridians have concealed carry permits and the required training. The question is, will the new law reduce the number of those individuals undergoing gun safety courses?

MD: Over the long term, I do not expect it to diminish because smart people make smart choices. This law is not going to diminish common sense in the people in the state of Florida. The people of the state of Florida want to do the right thing, they’re good people. People that take our courses are taking them because they want to be lawful and they want to be safe, and that isn’t going to diminish.

Host: That issue is whether law enforcement officers are at a greater risk, with presumably more county residents carrying concealed pistols. But Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman told WSLR News: “I have no concerns with citizens exercising their constitutional right to carry a firearm concealed, and I believe that this extension of our constitutional right to protect ourselves is long overdue. We do not anticipate any issues with this new law and we have taken the opportunity to provide information on the new law to all patrol deputies.”

WSLR asked the veteran firearms and safety instructor whether the new law should have required gun safety training.

MD: I would have voted for this law with an amendment that said, there is a requirement for the training that we’ve been delivering over the years, to understand the law, and most importantly, to be safe.

Host: This is Ramon Lopez for WSLR News.


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