CITRUS COUNTY, Fla – House Bill 543, otherwise known as the Florida ‘Constitutional Carry’ law, goes into effect tomorrow, July 1, 2023.
This makes Florida the 26th state to enact this legislation, guaranteeing citizens their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“As your Sheriff, I strive to diligently safeguard our citizens, and I will especially continue to defend the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. I am a staunch supporter of this new law, and I am excited to finally see it come to fruition,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “This is a significant win for Florida and a massive step in the right direction in personal protection for our citizens. We are extremely fortunate to have our great Governor, Ron DeSantis, in support of our citizens’ right to bear arms and defend themselves.”
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With this new law going into effect tomorrow, Sheriff Prendergast and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) would like to clear up any misinformation on this legislation.
This law removes the licensing requirements for those individuals who qualify for a concealed weapons license (“CWL”).
It does NOT remove the stringent requirements already in place to legally purchase a firearm, and this will not change tomorrow. All requirements to legally purchase a firearm will continue to remain in effect.
In other words, it will no longer be necessary to apply for a CWL as long as the criteria is met. In addition, this law will be advantageous for law enforcement officials, as it revises criminal penalty provisions for those unlawfully possessing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons.
Constitutional Carry is also NOT open carry, which is still illegal in Florida under most circumstances. Where you are allowed to carry firearms, who can own a firearm, and the waiting period for purchasing a firearm all remain in effect. Constitutional Carry does add the requirement to always carry identification with your firearm and display it to law enforcement upon request. This is not to infringe on your right to carry without a permit but is put in place to ensure that you are not someone who cannot legally own a firearm.
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You must meet several requirements to be eligible to own a firearm. Some include, but are not limited to:
- Must be 21 years of age unless you are a member of the armed services;
- Must be a resident and a citizen of the United States;
- Is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by any provision of Florida or Federal law;
Some disqualifiers include, but are not limited to:
- Convicted of a felony;
- Unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance, committed under chapter 397 or 394;
- Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
- Fugitive from justice.
“Although permitless carry is a substantial advancement in our right to personal protection, please remember to continue safe practices while carrying and using your firearm,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “Owning a firearm comes with great responsibility – always exercise safe practices, lock up your firearm, and never leave it behind in your vehicle.”
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