WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Florida this week became the 26th state to allow carrying a firearm without a permit. While the move drew derision from the White House, Republicans who backed it argue it will make people safer.
The bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in a private ceremony Monday allows residents to carry a concealed loaded gun without a permit or training. It goes into effect July 1.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, said he fears the rule change will lead to more carnage.
“I’m angry about it,” Guttenberg said. “We become a more dangerous state. That’s what the implication is.”
The White House slammed Florida, Tennessee and 24 other states for passing similar measures.
“What we’re seeing from Florida to Tennessee … are Republican officials who are doubling down on dangerous bills,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Republicans legislators want to play politics and not put the lives of our kids first.”
Florida Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican, said Democrats are overreacting.
“It will just allow for people to not have to submit paperwork to carry concealed throughout the state,” he said. “There’s still statutory areas where permit holders like myself cannot carry.”
He said the bill should have gone further to allow “good guys with guns” to fight back in active shooter situations.
“It’s like 80-something percent of mass shootings occur in gun free zones,” Steube said. “I wish they would have taken that step in this piece of legislation to do away with certain permitted areas.”
“Greg Steube is wrong,” Guttenberg retorted. “If that argument is true, we’d be the safest country on earth.”
A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows gun injuries are still high after peaking during the worst of the pandemic.
With Congress deadlocked on the matter, Guttenberg hopes that voters can push for action in the next election.