Tallahassee, Fla. — Legislation that would allow Floridians to carry a gun without a permit is advancing onto the Senate floor.

What You Need To Know

  • SB 150 cleared a vote in the Fiscal Policy Committee after hours of debate

  • Supporters of the bill came out in force along with opponents

  • DeSantis has said either this bill or another that would allow open carry in the state will be signed

The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee passed the proposal along a party line vote Thursday after hours of debate.

The proposal that would make it easier to carry guns in the state of Florida is a very emotional issue for supporters and critics alike. Both sides feel strongly about guns, and those feelings are often visible here inside the Capitol.

Permit less carry is now just two votes away from the Governor’s Desk. The bill, titled SB 150, would remove license and training requirements to carry a weapon in public.

Tampa Senate Republican Jay Collins is the bill sponsor. “This is not a gun issue," Collins asserted. "The gun is not the problem here.”

Supporters say permit less carry makes Florida safer. They also say the constitution empowers them to carry a gun without government permission. Some supporters are going further and are calling on Republican lawmakers to do more with the proposal.

“If the governor can not get a very friendly legislature to add open carry to this bill, then how do we think he’s going to do trying to convince Congress to act on anything if he becomes president. If open carry is not added to this bill, it shows the political impotence on part of Governor DeSantis," Open carry advocate Matt Collins told Spectrum News.

Critics, however, are plenty. They say permit less carry endangers Floridians, and they fear it will allow more guns on the streets and lead to more violence. 

Schools, they say, are also at risk.

“It’s time to focus on saving the lives of innocent children and or the fact that teenagers have seen their own best friend get shot in the (expletive) head," said Seneca Bristol, VP of Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida Youth Chapter. 

Blocks away from the Capitol – critics gathered in numbers to rally together in a church. They later marched to the Capitol and demonstrated outside.

Twenty five other states have permitless carry on the books. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would allow open carry if lawmakers sent a bill allowing that to his desk instead.