FACT SHEET: New Legislation Would Empower Floridians with Constitutional Carry

February 27, 2023

Constitutional carry, or permitless carry, codifies the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun—open and/or concealed carry—without a permit. It is the primary way states formally recognize the right to bear arms as an extension of the right to self-defense, not as merely a privilege bestowed by the government. Florida currently does not have a law permitting constitutional carry.

How Common Is Constitutional Carry?

  • In January 2023, Alabama’s constitutional carry law went into effect, making it the 25th state to pass constitutional carry.
  • 18 of these 25 states had a constitutional carry law go into effect within the last decade.

Why Is Constitutional Carry Important?

  • Constitutional carry allows law-abiding Americans to carry firearms freely, without bureaucratic restrictions or governmental mandates like mandatory training requirements and other deterrent or restrictive policies.
  • Low-income citizens will especially benefit from constitutional carry laws in states that currently impose onerous fees throughout the application and permitting process.


  • 2.57 Million Permits (the most of any state)
  • More than 13% of Florida adults practice concealed carry
  • The number of Permit holders has substantially increased
    • May 2012: 18%
    • August 2022: 29%
  • The 2017 National Firearms Survey estimates that the U.S. has 1.67 million instances annually when someone uses a gun to defend themselves or others around them.
  • The people of Florida are estimated to use a gun defensively 110,000 times per year.

Clearing Up Common Misconceptions Surrounding Constitutional Carry

Constitutional carry does NOT allow felons or other prohibited persons to own/carry a firearm.

  • Under constitutional carry, it remains unlawful for all individuals already prohibited by federal and/or state law—including felons, the mentally ill, users of controlled substances, and convicted domestic abusers—to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm.
  • Under federal and/or state law, all states with constitutional carry still require lawful citizens to undergo background checks before purchasing a firearm from a firearms dealer.

Constitutional carry, or loosening restrictions on the right to carry, will NOT lead to an increase in crime.

  • One study found no statistically significant relationship between constitutional carry laws and homicide.
  • Of the top 10 states with the lowest violent crime rates, 5 have constitutional carry, including the 3 safest—Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

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