On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis quietly signed a bill to allow people to carry concealed loaded guns without any permits, training, or background checks.
The change, the execution of a promise DeSantis had repeatedly made in the past, comes after it passed the state legislative chambers largely on party lines.
Florida now becomes the twenty-sixth state to allow permitless concealed carry. One study found states that pass such laws experience a 22 percent increase in gun homicide during the three years after the law’s passage.
The bill was first introduced in late January, and just hours later, a mass shooting in Lakeland, Florida, left 11 people injured. Now the bill’s passage comes in the wake of a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, that left three children and three adults dead.
The timing, as well as the mass unpopularity of gun deregulation amid what is now a continual cycle of mass shootings, explains why DeSantis passed it with little fanfare (compared to the ceremony he exhibits when signing bills like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, for example).
But, as with most changes Republicans pursue nowadays, permitless carry is massively unpopular.
A December poll showed 68 percent of voters in Miami-Dade opposing permitless carry, including 65 percent of registered Republicans and 60 percent of voters who said they voted for DeSantis in November.
Moreover, once voters were told explicitly that the now-signed bill would allow anyone who can purchase a gun to carry it in public, opposition grew by 12, to 80 percent—with 81 percent of Hispanics and 69 percent of DeSantis voters being opposed to such a policy. And cutting against the bipartisan crime panic, more respondents attributed crime to lax gun laws than to a lack of police funding.
Another poll conducted last September yielded similar results, with 61 percent of Floridian voters opposed to permitless carry, including 71 percent of Hispanic voters.
Still—despite the unpopularity and the material threats such a bill introduces to his own people, all after yet another horrific mass shooting—DeSantis has now made it even easier for people to carry guns and schoolchildren to get murdered.