ORLANDO FLORIDA, FEBRUARY 6, 2023 - Florida PTA appreciates the commitment of our Legislature and Governor to public safety and honors the service of members of the law enforcement community in furtherance of this goal.
We believe, however, that eliminating current requirements for criminal background checks, fingerprinting, licensing, and safety and proficiency training for individuals seeking to carry concealed weapons in public endangers, rather than protects, our families and communities. Accordingly, we stand in opposition to HB 543.
Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services denied 8490 applications for concealed weapons licenses.1 Barring these denials, felons, those convicted of crimes of violence, abusers of drugs and alcohol, and other dangerous individuals might well have brought concealed weapons into the spaces where our families live, work, and play.
Florida PTA supports the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but understands, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia, that “…the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”2 Reasonable limitations, as most Americans—including gun owners—agree, include licensing and safety tests.3,4
States that pass permitless carry bills like HB 543 experience a 22% increase in gun homicide rates during the first three years after passage.5 Florida already tallies one gun death every three hours.6
Florida PTA respectfully requests the withdrawal of HB 543. True public safety demands that we put a stop to the proliferation of firearms in our communities. None of us can be considered “free” if those who pose a danger to society have the liberty to carry concealed weapons capable of maiming and killing, in a matter of seconds, those whom we hold dear.
Florida PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in Florida. Founded in 1923, it has successfully advocated for universal kindergarten, school lunches, bicycle helmets,
elementary school recess, support for dyslexic students, parental notification of school site
Baker Act implementation, equitable learning environments, and juvenile justice reform. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children. More information is available by contacting Florida PTA at 407.855.7604 or