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The Facts Are Clear: Permitless Carry will Make Florida Less Safe

Giffords Law Center’s Research Director Testifies Against Florida’s Reckless Permitless Carry Legislation

Tallahassee, FL —  This week Kelly Drane, research director at Giffords Law Center, the legal arm of the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, testified in front of the Florida House Judiciary Committee and Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee on permitless carry. This legislation would allow almost anyone to carry a gun in public without a background check, any training, or having ever fired a gun.

Kelly Drane, Research Director, Giffords Law Center:

“There is no credible scientific evidence that suggests that permitless carry will protect public safety. In fact, the research overwhelmingly suggests that having unvetted, untrained people carrying hidden loaded guns in our malls, our supermarkets, our movie theaters, and other public spaces will undoubtedly make those places less safe, turning arguments and fistfights into deadly shootings. 

“In fact, studies show that states that have weakened their public carry laws experience 13–15% increases in violent crime rates, as well as an 11% increase in rates of homicides committed with handguns.”

Why Permitless Carry Is Bad for Florida:

  • Studies show that weakening public carry laws is associated with a 13–15% increase in violent crime rates, as well as an 11% increase in rates of homicides committed with handguns.
  • One recent study found that when states weakened their concealed carry laws and removed provisions like live fire training and violent misdemeanor prohibitions—both of which Florida currently has—they experienced a 22% increase in gun assaults and a 35% increase in gun homicides. 
  • The current law helps ensure that people with a history of violent or risky behavior cannot carry firearms in public places. Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, 7,605 Florida residents with a disqualifying history were denied concealed carry permits. Permitless carry would strip these important provisions. 
  • The state of Florida requires 1,200 hours of training to obtain a license to cut hair, 500 hours of training to obtain a massage therapist license, and 240 hours of training to become a licensed manicurist. If Florida passes permitless carry, the state will require zero hours of training for people to carry a loaded firearm in public. 

Floridians Oppose Permitless Carry:

  • Recent polling by Giffords and Global Strategy Group shows that over three quarters of Miami-Dade voters say gun violence (77%) was very important to their vote in November—more than inflation (75%), immigration (66%), or abortion (62%).
  • Floridians, especially Hispanic voters, oppose permitless carry: 61% Floridians and 71% Hispanic voters oppose permitless carry, which Governor DeSantis has promised to pass.
  • Over two-thirds of Miami-Dade voters oppose permitless carry (68%) with 60% of voters strongly opposing the policy. 
    • This opposition spans party registration and race. A majority of Republicans, DeSantis voters, gun owners (59%), and white voters (55%) oppose permitless carry. 
    • After hearing the policy would allow anyone who can legally purchase a firearm to carry a loaded gun publicly, along with examples of who those carriers would be, voters’ opposition grew by 12 points (68% to 80%) and strong opposition by 13 points (60% to 73%).



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