Even though there have been several mass shootings in Florida in the last ten years, people who want to loosen gun laws are pushing for constitutional carry. On January 30, 2023, House Speaker Paul Renner announced a bill that would let people in the state of Florida carry guns without a permit.
If it were to pass, Florida would be the 26th state in the U.S. to have this kind of law in place. Anyone who lives in Florida would be able to own and carry a gun without a permit or training requirements. The state still gives people the chance to get a permit so they can take their gun with them to other states if they want to.
According to WTSP, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Basically, this is something I’ve always been for.” People who care about the same things as the governor have high hopes that the bill will be passed.
Some Floridians are worried about the bill because of the state’s two big mass shootings, which have made many people afraid of these weapons and the people who have them. Former US Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says that over 3,000 people in Florida have been killed by guns in just the last year.
Mucarsel-Powell is also a senior advisor at Giffords, which works to stop gun violence across the country. She points out that states that let people carry guns without a permit have seen up to 15% more gun violence, and that many Floridians won’t agree with the bill and what it means.
“There are more mass shootings happening all over the country right now, and we need leaders with the courage to stand up and look at ways to protect our children from gun violence,” said Mucarsel-Powell, who was the representative for Florida’s 28th district from 2018 to 2020.
Students all over the country have seen school shootings and other types of mass shootings, and many of these constitutional carry bills have been opposed by these students. Some UM students are worried about their safety on campus these days. They show that there is a chance that any student will be able to get a gun and use it on campus.
Anna Layton, a freshman majoring in nursing and health science, said, “When I first heard about this bill, my first thought was, ‘This is scary.'” “During the school year, my friends and I live in Florida, and now we have to worry about our safety both on and off campus.”
Layton thinks that there should be more security rules on campus to make sure that nothing bad happens near UM if the bill is passed.
After a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in June 2022, President Joe Biden signed a bill to make guns safer. The bill called for stricter rules to make sure that people who own guns have completed a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Also, the law lets states make “red flag” laws that allow people to ask the courts to take a gun away from someone if they are worried about how the gun will be used (e.g., to threaten people’s lives).
But the bill doesn’t stop states from going in the opposite direction and making less rules about who can own guns and who can’t. Over the past year, many gun safety laws have been passed in states like California, Colorado, and Delaware. On the other hand, states like Texas, Alabama, and Idaho use gun ownership as a major source of economic growth and have less strict gun laws.
Gregory Koger, a professor of political science, said, “As someone who studies gun policy, it’s surprising how little is done at the federal level to limit or loosen access to firearms.” “Instead, it seems like most changes to gun laws happen at the state level.”
Koger says that there is a clear pattern in the country: states with more Democratic governments pass some gun laws, but not often, while states with more Republican governments, like Florida, look for ways to make it easier to get guns.
Because of how divided the country’s politics are, gun laws and rights have remained one of the most controversial and important issues on political agendas.
Even though Speaker of the House Paul Renner introduced the bill at the press conference, Desantis’s support for other laws that loosen gun restrictions and his ties to the National Rifle Association make it unlikely that he will vote for it. He has been quoted by many news outlets, including the Tampa Bay Times, as saying that he has always supported this issue.
Many people, including Mucarsel-Powell, say that this is another example of how DeSantis and the legislature favor their campaign donors instead of the people they are supposed to represent. Giffords did a poll last year, and Florida Phoenix said that 68% of Miami Dade County residents voted against permitless carry. 60% of these voters are Republicans, and 60% of them voted for DeSantis in November.
Mucarsel-Powell said, “This will only help the gun lobby, gun manufacturers, and the NRA.” “The people who live in the state of Florida don’t benefit from it.”