TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A bill loosening Florida’s gun laws is heading to the governor’s desk for his signature.
The Florida senate passed SB-150 Thursday in a vote that was mostly along party lines (27-13). One Republican, State Sen. Ileana Garcia (R-Miami-Dade), joined Democrats in voting against the bill.
The new policy, which supporters refer to as “constitutional carry,” will allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms without the need for a state-issued permit or training.
Senate Democrats argue the loosening of gun laws is a step in the wrong direction.
“I don’t understand the direction that we’re going in and it’s only gonna lead to more death and destruction.” Sen. Tina Polsky said.
The bill removes current permit requirements and allows gun owners to carry their weapon concealed. It’s something the bill’s sponsor has called a monumental step for preserving Floridians’ second amendment rights.
“It eliminates the government permission slip to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida,” Sen. Jay Collins said.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, more than 2.8 million Floridians have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
“We do understand what the opposition is saying, but we believe that this is the right policy for Florida going forward,” State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia said.
Meanwhile, Democrats raised various concerns with the policy.
“I’m in fact not worried about mass shootings with this bill, I’m worried about mass idiots,” Sen. Jason Pizzo said.
“Let’s keep it simple, more guns means more guns,” State Sen. Darryl Rouson said.
Permitless carry aside, most lawmakers are in agreement about the broader public safety measures included in the bill. Some of those include threat-sharing between schools and more extensive training requirements for law enforcement.
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. It would go into effect July 1.