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Florida passes permitless carry law

Permitless carry will be legal as of July 1 in the state of Florida.

The new law will allow people in Florida to carry a concealed weapon without any permit requirement.

It's all a part of a nearly 106-page bill labeled House Bill 543.

But the debate starts at what to call it.

Some call it permitless carry. Others call it constitutional carry. But Moms Demand Action calls it “A very dangerous law.”

It’s House Bill 543, internally known as the Public Safety bill. It removes the permit requirement to carry a concealed firearm in the state of florida.

It left some residents concerned.

Helen Kirklin is a volunteer with the Alachua County Moms Demand Action.

“We know from other states that have removed permitting requirements that it makes it easier for dangerous people to carry a gun in public spaces like this park like our grocery stores, our mall, shopping malls, and on the streets of our neighborhoods," Kirklin said.

Supporters of the law believe it will allow those in harm's way to better protect themselves.

Nicholas Lahera is the public relations coordinator at Big Daddy Unlimited, a gun retailer in Gainesville.

“Women and other people who don't want to go through the hoops who are at risk or domestic violence and other things to allow them to protect themselves in a much quicker, expedient fashion," Lahera said.

The current process for a permit involves a class, fingerprinting and a nearly three month wait period. With permitless carry, gun owners can skip those steps and just go through the three day waiting period when getting a gun.

The change is a part of sweeping legislative moves by DeSantis and state Republicans that hold a supermajority in the legislature.

“They don't care, they're just on a mission,” Kirklin said, “They got their schedule. They were going to have to sign the law as part of a sequence of bad laws in Florida, and they want people to believe that there's nothing we can do about gun violence and it's an act of nature which is not true. We know it's preventable."

The bill now puts gun training as a personal responsibility instead of a legal one.

"If you want to use it as a tool for self-defense, that's your responsibility to become proficient with it,” Lahera said, “It is your responsibility to be able to use it in a way that defends your life, your family's life and your community's life."

The change maintains state and federal regulations regarding who can buy a gun such as 21 years of age and background checks.

The bill is set to go into effect on July 1. State lawmakers have made steps toward a potential open carry law but no such amendments have passed. However, the move to bring the age requirement from 21 to 18 is on the table.

Correction appended: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the effective date of the new law. It is July 1.

Christopher is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.