TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — During a private ceremony in his office, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Per the bill, starting on July 1, Floridians will no longer need to fulfill license or concealed training classes to carry a concealed weapon.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing for permitless carry of concealed weapons

  • Concealed training classes and an FDLE background check  no longer will be required

  • The legislation, signed in a private ceremony, will go into effect July 1

  • Florida is the 26th state to pass a permitless carry gun measure

The bill would still require background checks and a minimum wait period to purchase a gun, but a more detailed Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check would not be necessary.

House Bill 543 also expands Florida's Guardian program, which allows for armed personnel on private school campuses.

The legislation does not allow people to carry guns in the open where others can see them.

Critics say that allowing more guns on the streets with less oversight is not a solution.

But supporters argue that the U.S. Constitution doesn't require people to ask for a permission slip to carry a gun.

Florida is the 26th state to approve permitless carry.

The arguments over the legislation were divided along political lines, with Republicans saying law-abiding citizens have a right to carry guns and protect themselves. They say most people will still want to get a permit because it will allow them to carry concealed weapons in states with reciprocal agreements and to be able to purchase guns without a waiting period.

However, Democrats and gun safety advocates — pointing to mass shootings in Florida like the massacre at the 2016 Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — say the new law will only make the state more dangerous.

“I will chase him down across the state as well as possibly across the country ... because Ron DeSantis today put his signature to a bill that guarantees there will be more Jaimes,” Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, told reporters during an online news conference. 

And he said signing the bill behind closed doors makes DeSantis a coward.

“Somebody in Florida may die ... because of this legislation. That will be because of you, Ron DeSantis,” Guttenberg said. “I understand why you hid today ... You are a weak, pathetic, small-minded individual.”

Nearly 3 million Floridians have a concealed weapons permit. While a background check and three-day waiting period will still be required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, they are not required for private transactions or exchanges of weapons.

DeSantis has said he thinks Florida should go even further and allow people to openly carry guns. While some lawmakers have pushed for open carry, it doesn't appear the Legislature will pass such a measure this session.

The bill signing comes five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a bill creating gun restrictions after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Under DeSantis, momentum has swung back toward expanding gun rights rather than placing limits on them, which has earned him praise from gun rights advocates.

"Government will not get in the way of law-abiding Americans who want to defend themselves and their families,” Republican Sen. Jay Collins, who sponsored the bill, said in a news release.

It also comes one week after six people were killed in a Nashville school shooting.