Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only.
General Stats 2023
Florida saw a significant decrease in the number of permit applications for concealed carry licenses after the state made them optional under new gun laws. The number of applications dropped by 64% compared to the same three-month period last year. Currently, around 2.5 million individuals in Florida possess concealed carry permits.
Firearms instructors have observed a significant decrease in the demand for mandatory gun safety and educational training. In these courses, instructors not only provide a comprehensive understanding of the state’s laws but also teach individuals about the legal carrying of handguns and the responsible use of firearms for self-defense. However, these instructors have noticed a decline in the number of people enrolling in these courses.
Gun sales have seen a significant decline, with a notable drop in background checks conducted for gun purchases since July 1. It is estimated that these background checks have decreased by approximately 15% compared to the previous year. However, it should be noted that the exact correlation between background checks and actual gun purchases is challenging to determine, as some buyers may be purchasing multiple firearms.
There have been several bills filed in preparation for the start of the Florida Legislature’s regular session on January 9, 2024, addressing the delicate balance between public safety concerns and gun rights. These proposals vary across party lines.
2024 Proposed Revisions
State Senator Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, is pushing for an expansion of background checks to include ammunition. This is the third consecutive year that she has introduced a version of “Jaime’s Law,” which is named after a victim of the Parkland shooting.
State Representative Dan Daley, a Democrat from Sunshine, FL, has introduced HB 151, also known as “Jamie’s Law.” This legislation, which he has proposed for the fourth year in a row, aims to implement the same restrictions on purchasing ammunition as currently exist for purchasing guns.
Republican Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson recently proposed the “Florida Arms and Ammo Act” to prevent the tracking of firearm and ammunition purchases by Floridians. This act aims to counter new international recording standards for payments that include separate codes for these purchases.
Republican State Representative Joel Rudman of Navarre has introduced a bill (HB 17) that aims to limit the waiting period for background checks to three days, irrespective of whether the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has completed the process or not.
“These individuals are purchasing firearms primarily for self-defense and personal protection,” Rudman stated.
“We don’t have a second to lose when we are in that sort of situation.”
Rudman’s bill currently does not have a companion in the Senate. The legislative session for 2024 is set to begin in January.
Gun Safety Instructors Speak
Instructors express their worries about the safety of communities as the number of enrolled classes decline, and they are also concerned about the impact this decline will have on their businesses.
Doc Nguyen, the owner of Homefront Tactical in Jacksonville, had expressed his concerns regarding the issue of gun violence. This concern served as his inspiration to take action by offering gun safety classes, where he would host classes with around a dozen students.
Nguyen’s unease intensified as he found himself rejecting students who showed no interest in learning despite attending mandatory classes. The thought of associating his name with individuals who lacked dedication made him contemplate shutting down his business.
Nguyen expressed his concern about the bill, stating that upon hearing the news, it became evident that the consequences would be detrimental. According to Nguyen, the bill is expected to cause more harm than good.
Nguyen, who currently designs military curricula, made the decision to close down his previous ventures in April, just before the law came into effect.
Brian Doyle, the president of Direct Hit Firearms Training in Pompano Beach, has voiced his concerns regarding the dangers of allowing untrained individuals to possess firearms.
“It’s disheartening to see that people are not interested in being educated. It’s even more concerning that the state is sending them the message that they don’t need any education to carry a firearm,” expressed Doyle.
“I’m a Second Amendment guy — I get it,” Doyle said. “But if you’re one of my clients and you come back to me with a court order because you broke the law, I’m not going to be happy.”
Doyle is primarily concerned about avoidable errors, rather than an increase in violent crime. Mistakes made by law-abiding citizens can expose them to lawsuits and potentially lead to fatalities.
According to Doyle, many individuals claim to have extensive experience with guns, but they often come to realize how much they lack in knowledge and understanding.
Christian Perez, the head instructor for Florida Defensive Training, expressed his opinion on the law by stating, “This law is almost a trick. It makes people think there’s no reason to get a permit.”
Perez now teaches classes with around 20 motivated individuals, a significant decrease from the 70 students he used to have before July 1, 2023. He is responsible for instructing both law enforcement and civilian courses.
Perez expressed that although there were numerous students who lacked interest and only enrolled in the class due to state requirements, he believed that any form of education is beneficial.
“It’s better to hear these things in a classroom than a courtroom.”
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