The legislation was introduced after the names of central Florida’s permit holders were published on an Internet site.
On any given day, some 380,000 Floridians can legally pack heat. Their names are public record, but after July 1 the names of concealed weapons permit holders will be removed from public access. The NRA’s Marion Hammer says that’s the way it should be.
Marion Hammer says, “That gives people who don’t have guns protection, because if a criminal doesn’t know who’s carrying, he can’t pick and choose who he would attack.”
Getting a permit is relatively easy. Anyone who can legally buy a gun can get a permit to carry one; all you have to do is take a class and pay a $117 fee. Applicants must also submit a picture and a set of fingerprints. The legislation was opposed by the First Amendment Foundation, which argued the public needs to know if the government is doing its job.
Barbara Peterson of the foundation says, “Felons, convicted felons can’t have one. They’re not even supposed to own guns, and we have no opportunity now to make sure that government is doing what it is supposed to be doing in giving people concealed weapons permits.”
The bill was inspired after the names of thousands of permit holders were published on the Internet. There have been about 400 public records requests for the information in the past year.
The concealed weapons bill was just one of many championed by the National Rifle Association this year in the Florida Legislature. Five other pro-gun bills were also approved by lawmakers.