TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Thursday morning, Florida Senate Bill 150 passed through the last stop before it ends up on the Senate floor for a vote. The Fiscal Policy Committee approved the measure 13-6. Now, the controversial bill heads to the floor for the vote.
If passed and signed by the governor, the law will take effect on July 1 this year. With the new law, Floridians will be able to carry concealed firearms without a special permit.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Jay Collins (R-Tampa), a former U.S. Army Green Beret and has garnered wide support among Republicans.
“I’m glad we were able to pass this bill out of committee and onto the floor. We are well on our way to passing monumental codification of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as well as ensuring that our schools are safer than ever before,” Sen. Collins told The Florida Standard.
Democrats, on the other hand, have been critical of the bill, as previously reported.
“Let’s be clear, Floridians will die if this legislation becomes law,” U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) told the Florida Phoenix in January. “This is a reckless, dangerous piece of legislation, and I join survivors and Floridians in calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to put an end to it now,” he added.
But law enforcement representatives – those who would be the first to feel the consequences of permitless carry should it backfire – generally seem positive to the law.
“From a public safety perspective, requiring that law-abiding people get a concealed weapons license is a roadblock to those citizens being able to protect themselves and their families. This bill does not impact who can buy a firearm – you still have to go through a background check and a waiting period. All of the disqualifiers that apply to those with a permit apply to carrying without a permit. What the bill does do is make it easier for law-abiding people to protect themselves and their families,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County said when the bill was introduced.
The Florida Police Chiefs Association also states its support for the bill:
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association supports permitless constitutional carry and looks forward to working with Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature on this important issue,” the organization writes.
The vote has not yet been scheduled.