TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Dozens of gun control advocates from "March for Our Lives" were at Florida's Capitol on Thursday to urge Florida lawmakers to vote down a bill allowing permitless carry in the state.
While wrapped in public safety measures for schools, the legislation allows legal gun owners to carry concealed without the currently required permit or training.
The GOP majority in the House is expected to pass the bill Friday. Members said they're seeking easier Second Amendment access without a "government permission slip."
"I believe that Floridians have the right to bear arms, protect themselves, their families and their property without government interference," Rep. Robert Brannan, R-Lake City, the House bill's sponsor on the floor said Thursday. "Twenty-five states have already had this law — the sky hasn't fallen."
Outside the Capitol, David Hogg, a Parkland survivor and co-founder of "March for Our Lives," condemned the potential weakening of state gun laws. It is a move that comes only five years after the mass shooting at his former high school.
"It's deeply offensive — it's more than insensitive, and it's going to get people killed," Hogg said. "We need to be proactive. We need to show up at our state legislatures the same way the gun lobby and merchants of death do every single year to advocate for guns everywhere."
House approval on Friday would put permitless carry one Senate vote away from the governor's desk. Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to sign the bill — though some on the right are urging the Legislature to go further and offer open carrying of firearms.
"I believe that Floridians have the right to bear arms, protect themselves, their families and their property without government interference," Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Valrico, said.
Beltran briefly offered an open carry amendment to the permitless carry bill but withdrew it a short time later.
DeSantis has said he'd sign open carry, but GOP leadership in the Legislature isn't on board — likely signaling it won't happen this year.