By: D.J. Parten
Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Lake County) filed Constitutional Carry legislation on Monday.
House Bill 123 would remove the requirement for law-abiding citizens to obtain a license to carry a firearm but would leave the existing licensing system in place so Floridians could still get a CWL for reciprocity.
“You should not have to ask the government for a permit – for a permission slip – to exercise your Second Amendment rights,” Sabatini said in a video posted on the Florida Gun Rights Facebook page. “The only gun policy that squares with the Second Amendment is Constitutional Carry.”
Currently, carrying a firearm without a license is a felony offense carrying with it up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine! In comparison, the same offense is a misdemeanor in the anti-gun haven of California.
In addition to removing the license requirement, this bill would legalize the right to open carry. Florida is one of only five states with an outright ban on open carry. The other states are South Carolina, New York, Illinois, and California.
Sixteen states recognize the right to constitutionally carry a firearm including liberal northeastern states like Maine and New Hampshire. Clearly, Florida is falling behind the pack when it comes to firearm freedom.
In addition to requiring a license to carry a firearm and banning open carry (with very limited exceptions), Florida has a “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation law on the books that allows government agents to seize someone’s firearms without due process.
Sabatini made history during the 2020 Legislative Session by becoming the first lawmaker ever to sponsor a Constitutional Carry bill in the Florida Legislature. This year, he is also sponsoring a bill to repeal the Emergency Gun Ban law that allows local governments to ban the sale and possession of firearms during a state of emergency for civil unrest.
Lawmakers return to Tallahassee for committee hearings beginning January 11. Session starts March 2.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Senior Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.