Dozens rally outside the Capitol as Florida moves to loosen gun restrictions

March for Our Lives rally
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Dozens of people rallied at the Capitol Thursday, demanding what they call common sense gun safety laws.

The rally was organized by the group ‘March for Our Lives,’ which was created by survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting.

The same day, House lawmakers debated a permitless concealed carry bill and a bill that would lower the minimum age to own a long gun from 21 to 18.

Governor DeSantis has already said if the permitless carry measure makes it to his desk, he will sign it into law.

Currently, gun owners are required to take a class in order to get a concealed carry permit. The bill would eliminate that requirement.

However, it does have some restrictions. The measure would prohibit people from carrying concealed guns in certain places, including prisons, schools, polling places and most athletic events.

Supporters say the bills are about making Florida safer.

“The fact of the matter is, the second amendment is not there for hunting and recreational shooting,” said House Republican Berny Jacques during a committee meeting. “The second amendment was placed there to protect free citizens, to protect their lives and their liberty.”

Opponents say they feel Florida is moving backward. They worry this legislation will put Floridians’ lives in danger.

“We’ve all personally been affected by gun violence,” said Olivia Solomon, an organizer for March for our Lives. “We are the generation that’s practiced more active shooter drills than fire drills. We’re the kids who immediately enter a room and look for a place to hide on instinct. It shouldn’t be normal, and we know that.”

A proposed amendment to the permitless concealed carry bill aimed to go even further and allow open-carry in Florida, but that amendment was withdrawn last night.

Several other amendments were discussed Thursday, including one which would have prohibited someone who has been convicted of a violent misdemeanor from carrying a concealed gun. That amendment did not pass.