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 Governor Ron DeSantis’ press conference announcing support for impending legislation on permitless carry. Permitless carry is dangerous and goes against the will of law enforcement, Florida voters, and public safety experts who know this bill will only exacerbate gun violence and make it easier for dangerous people to carry a gun in our communities.
“Despite deadly acts of gun violence devastating communities across Florida and the country, Governor DeSantis has made it abundantly clear that he is willing to put our safety at risk to achieve his political aspirations,” said Gay Valimont, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Governor DeSantis and his Republican supporters continue to back the gun lobby over public safety and we are committed to fighting permitless carry every step of the way.
“Lawmakers in Florida are choosing to put politics over our safety and wellbeing,” said Isabella Ensign, volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action. “By prioritizing dangerous policies like permitless carry, Governor Ron DeSantis and his supporters are signaling to all young people that he is willing to sacrifice our futures for his political gain.”
This year, Governor DeSantis and other lawmakers publicly committed themselves to passing permitless carry this year, which 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.
Permitless carry also 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 to permitless carry legislation.
The indisputable fact is: gun laws save lives. Florida’s current permitting system is effective. Without requiring too much time or money, our permitting system ensures those carrying guns in public have gone through a background check and taken firearm training. States with stronger gun laws generally experience lower rates of gun violence, and those that have weakened their gun permitting laws have seen increases in violent crime rates. Communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of gun violence, and Black people in Florida are 7 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide. It’s a simple public safety guardrail that helps protect our communities from gun violence.
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.