Open carry AP feat
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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By Lee Williams

Florida’s quest for full-blown constitutional carry has garnered the attention of the nation’s pro-gun movement and drawn the ire of the gun-ban industry.

Twenty-five states have already passed constitutional carry, so Florida could become the “majority state,” which terrifies those opposed to civil rights.

Two bills are rocketing through the state legislature in Tallahassee: HB 543 and SB 150, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has promised to sign whatever the Republican super-majority in the legislature can get to this desk.

Unfortunately, neither bill allows for the open carry of arms, which is a crucial component of traditional constitutional carry. Therefore, most Floridians refer to the bills as unlicensed concealed carry. To be clear, every pro-gun group in the state – NRA, GOA, NAGR and Florida Carry, Inc. – all support the legislation because it is the largest restoration of our gun rights since 1987, but wish it included open carry.

Florida State Rep. Mike Beltran, a Republican who represents parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties, tried to fix the House bill this week by adding an open-carry amendment. Beltran is a target shooter and a Second-Amendment supporter. Unfortunately, his amendment could have caused a multitude of problems. In fact, it could have brought down everything.

It’s not known exactly where Beltran got the language for his amendment, but it would have required open carriers to use a “level two or greater retention device” holster. This would have made Florida the only state in the country where the government tells gun owners what type of holster they must use, and the penalty for using the wrong holster would have been a felony.

Open carry revolver holster
Dan Z for TTAG

Imagine getting stopped by police and charged with a felony because your holster doesn’t comply with state law. Even worse, the amendment did not define what a level-two retention device even was.

There were other issues with Beltran’s well-intentioned amendment. It would have made it illegal – another felony – to carry a stun gun without a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License, or CWFL. However, the biggest concern was what would have happened in the state Senate.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo does not support open carry. Earlier this month Passidomo said she does not support open carry because the Florida Sheriff’s Association does not support open carry.

Kathleen Passidomo
Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples(AP Photo/Phil Sears)

“I will support what the Sheriffs of this state, who are the experts, support. I don’t know one end of a gun from another, so I certainly want to support the experts,” she said. “The reality is, this bill basically says you do not need the government’s permission to carry your weapon. That, in my mind, is constitutional carry.”

If the bill made it to the state Senate with Beltran’s open-carry amendment intact, Passidomo could have made sure it died a quick death.

Beltran’s amendment was withdrawn Wednesday afternoon.

More instructor pushback

Nearly every state that has passed constitutional carry has experienced some pushback from firearm trainers, who are worried that an end to state mandated training will hurt them financially. Unfortunately, Florida is not immune from this short-sighted attitude.

Scott Grant is a retired Pasco County (Florida) deputy sheriff and owner of Tactical Decisions and Training. For more than a decade he has taught a concealed weapons course that satisfies the state training requirement for a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License, or CWFL.

Grant appeared on a local ABC television news affiliate to express his concerns about the current legislation.

“To be able to drive, we test you on that before we give you a license. To get married, you need a license. To get divorced, if you have a child, you have to take a class. To operate a boat … a firearm is more dangerous than any of those,” Grant told the TV reporter.

I interviewed Grant briefly a few days after his television appearance and asked him why he believed his bank account was more important than our civil rights.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with my bank account,” Grant said, adding that he trained people for free. He clarified this by explaining he did not charge veterans, law enforcement or domestic violence victims. However, students seeking a CWFL pay for their training.

Grant said other trainers have appeared on TV to express their concerns with the unlicensed concealed-carry bills. He added that he is a “firearm safety expert,” and then ended the interview.

“I don’t think we’re going to continue this conversation. It doesn’t seem like it will be pleasant for me,” he said. “I believe everyone should be armed with training, whether they get it from me or someone else.”


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  1. If you think about it, Vermont is the only true 2nd Amendment state, they have always allowed citizens their 2nd A rights since statehood. All other states, even ones with “shall not be infringed” for firearms in their Constitutions like Rhode Island have bastardized their Constitutions and prohibited guns at some point in their history. Florida needs to get it’s act together and get something passed.

    • While I do share the concerns of the get as much as we can get before they can ignore us again crowd strategically getting the majority of states some level of permit less carry will be important in future expansions of rights everywhere and politicians do respond to ridicule and primary threats later on when they are not currently dangling a carrot they have to deliver on.

      • You are right, they are simple creatures, politicians. What we really need is national reciprocity for gun licenses, just like drivers licenses. I would prefer national 2A with fear, but for not would settle for reciprocity, which I think is a fair compromise for now.

        • “What we really need is national reciprocity for gun licenses, just like drivers licenses“

          Article IV Relationships Between the States

          “Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause
          Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.“

        • Well with Florida and South Carolina vying for the tipping point and Nebraska a few steps behind the case for it does get stronger. Will have to push for as many rights and court decisions as possible while there are still enough boomers to offset my largely brainwashed generation and worse to come.

        • @Miner–except with respect to restricting abortion, laws against mandating COVID-19 vaccinations/boosters, restricting mutilation of children (so-called gender affirming care), and enforcing immigration laws. Amiright, Comrade? “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine. Do as I say, not as I do.”

    • Vermont has a ban on large capacity magazines and a few other pieces of socialist crapola. It ain’t what it used to be.

    • Don’t go to Vermont with a rifle magazine that holds more than 10 rounds or a pistol mag that holds more then 15. Your visit may last a year.

      • Well 10 rounds with additional issues in NY but I still see plenty of stuff floating around city and rural areas with minimal enforcement. Can’t imagine Vermont is much stricter. With that said don’t break the law it’s a bad idea.

    • Let’s cut the chase…A permit to carry is the state taking a Right from the citizen and Selling it back to them.

      And how on earth did such a scheme succeed? Because at the helm were the men who would not and could not stand and define Gun Control according to its history of rot if their lives depended on it. Such Gun Owning politically inept men have sat quiet in courts and elsewhere including this forum while a History Confirmed agenda rooted in racism and genocide received respect, standing and was allowed to set the pace.

      Forming an impromptu circle jerk that lays political problems directly and indirectly on Women is not helping lessen the number of women belonging to the democRat Party anymore than the bigots and their rhetoric on this forum are helping lessen the number of Black Americans belonging to the democRat Party.

    • too bad that Vermont, and a RINO named Scott (much like the OTHER RINO of the same name in Florida)saw fit to shaft gun owners in Vermont with a magazine capacity limit

  2. “To be able to drive, we test you on that before we give you a license. To get married, you need a license. To get divorced, if you have a child, you have to take a class. To operate a boat … a firearm is more dangerous than any of those,” Grant told the TV reporter.
    The only problem with this argument is none of them are considered a Right under the Constitution. Plus you don’t need a license for a divorce or training to have a child. Although looking at the state of today’s youth for the most part. Training, testing and a license isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

    • Darkman, you’re onto something here. No one has the right to sleep around, much less irresponsibly so. We need sex permits! Strictly enforced! Imagine how much better the world would be. And don’t forget about the age limit on murder…

    • Constitution/2nd Amendment is not the only problem with this argument. There are some nuanced differences between carrying a firearm and driving an automobile. To operate an automobile means the operator is constantly operating/driving. While to carry a firearm is not quite equivalent to operating/shooting. It is more analogous to carrying a vehicle on a flatbed truck. There is no requirement for license/registration/insurance for that vehicle being carried. Of course, if the state wants to mandate license/registration/insurance for non-emergency shooting of firearm in public, I am all for that. lol:

    • It’s a stupid argument, lets apply that logic to other things that are not enumerated constitutional rights…

      Maybe nationwide a permitting and training regime, with checks of background, social media history, a mental health evaluation, only able to do it in certain areas in public, subjected to the government discretion, for, lets say, any transgender medical procedure to change from the gender-one-thinks-they-aren’t to the gender-they-want-to-be.

      And along with this permit you get the let the state tell you when and where you may use this permitted activity, so, for example, ya had that sex change operation and you could be female at place ABC but to be at place XYZ you must be male so are excluded from being in place XYZ.

      Why not, that’s the logic they want to apply to gun owners for carry.

    • I would consider cruz ships to be death ships when filled with Covid and automobiles to be the cause of very high loss of life on the road ways. That’s not to mention to emotional toll divorce deals in peoples lives. Certainly all are more dangerous than guns that never get fired more than once or twice at paper.

  3. One would have to be an idiot to assume a sheriff’s association to be “experts” without knowing their qualifications.

  4. God only knows what really goes on behind the scenes and closed doors during the legislative process.

    Of course the option for open carry is desirable. Nevertheless, finally eliminating the licensing requirement to exercise our right to keep and bear arms is a step in the right direction and worth supporting.

    I sincerely hope this passes in Florida.

    • It’s kinda like the old Roman Coliseum, except they all go in with shovels to see who can shovel shit the fastest.

  5. We had the same b s arguements here in Texas when unlicensed carry was debated. The ones making money from the state required training to get a permission slip ( license ) to carry wanted to keep their monopoly at the expense of our rights. Then you have some of the ones with badges that believe that they are exceptional and should be the only ones to carry a firearm. Lastly there were the RINO’s and the gun control groups. ” Shall not be infringed ” should be plain enough to understand. I carry unlicensed but took the training anyway.

  6. I would highly recommend anyone who wishes to carry a sidearm to get some training on both the use and function of your weapon, and in the legal issues involved in the use of said weapon.

    • Here is the never-spoken benefit to removing the licensing requirement AND ITS ASSOCIATED FEE–WHICH CAN BE SUBSTANTIAL IN SOME STATES: eliminating the licensing fee frees up that very same amount of money for training.

      And guess what? The licensing fee is very close to the same fee for training in many states.

      Thus, while it may seem counter-intuitive, eliminating a license requirement can easily result in even more trained people than would have otherwise been trained if the licensing requirement remained in effect.

  7. So much ignorance in our society, and these folks are the ones’ in control of our lives! From the unknowledgeable senator to the controlling Sheriff . . .and of course there are 10’s of thousands more like them across the country! Some claiming to be on the side of the 2nd Amendment, yet comparing a RIGHT to a Privilege?!?! Sure, training is good for the majority if not all, but it should be part of our Public Education system, starting at an early age. And then there is the ridiculous comment that if the Sheriffs are for it, I’ll support it?!? Hellooooo . . .just because someone is in Law Enforcement, does not mean they are Safer, More Intelligent, or Knowledgeable about firearms. There are countless articles in the News about LEO’s doing the WRONG thing. From leaving loaded firearms lying around, aiding criminals, etc . . . Good thing this amendment was set aside. . . With people like these on our side (2A Supporters), we need ALL the REALLY GOOD help we can get!

  8. When it’s readily available, affordable, useful and most importantly voluntary sure. My state clearly demonstrates in 16 hours why mandatory training is a horrible idea.

  9. I really don’t understand the pushback from trainers. People are still going to need training and many will sign up. This isn’t going to change. Trainers are still needed. Perhaps now more than ever.

    • Lack of pattern recognition, laziness, inability to adapt to changing demand, power trip. Mix and match with others.

    • They are actually going to get more business. When you got permit less carry you got more people carrying which leads to more people wanting training. The majority of people aren’t idiots.

      • We had the same arguments from trainers here when we went to constitutional carry. Their angst wasn’t justified. More people actually got training under constitutional carry than they did under a ‘mother may I’ permitting regime because more people could then carry. Plus, for us, because of the way the permitting was structured; A lot more people could get actual real training and not that state mandated ‘check the squares’ type training. It also let trainers supply more and different types of training where before they were limited to just ‘permit’ state mandated ‘check the squares’ plus it allowed more and better qualified people to offer training where before under our old ‘mother may I’ permitting regime they were not permitted to do so to civilians unless certified by the state and follow the state mandated training the state prescribed which was a very weak slightly different version of the ‘mother may I’ permitting regime training for a permit.

        The old ‘permit’ trainers made more money, and so did the better offerings for training as well as being able to have better qualified trainers and a wider selection, which created competition which caused the training market to grow, and more people got trained with better and more comprehensive training, once the state got out of the ‘mother may I’ business.

        • .40 cal Booger,

          Let me get this straight: you are claiming that things get better when government gets out of our way?

          This is my surprised face.

  10. I wouldn’t worry about opening carry to much. Concealed carry carries a wee bit of the element of surprise which is always good it’s just not as fast as outside Holsteins, in my opinion.
    I believe in the larger cities some of the youth got what they call a “snatch” where they come up and grab your gunm and take off runnm. Outside holstein gunms are easier to grab. I drag my gunm with a string. The string is short, the gunm is always under my feet, nice and handy.

  11. This is a compromise.
    Get it done Florida!
    Once it has passed one can go back and add onto it, but the important thing is let’s get unlicensed conceal carry a reality.

  12. Pennsylvania has allowed “open carry” for years. I can recall only one instance where I observed someone doing open carry in a city or suburban area. Open carry is a “non-issue” in my book.

    • Ohio has always been an open carry state. Concealed carry was banned from 1859 until around 20 years ago, and it took 10 years of rigmarole for concealed carry to finally pass. And we have weird laws regarding knives and other non-firearm weapons. Our concealed carry law is for handguns only, same with the new permitless carry law.

  13. Name me any other Constitutionally protected Right that you have to get trained or licensed to exercise. Didn’t think you could, as there is none!

  14. “Scott Grant is a retired Pasco County (Florida) deputy sheriff”.
    ““I don’t think we’re going to continue this conversation. It doesn’t seem like it will be pleasant for me,” he said.”

    Scott Grant is also a pussy.

  15. Just like in the beginning of this country, the hillbillies and rednecks, are the most knowledgeable and safest shooters. I’ll take the training I got from the Florida Crackers that raised me over mr retired deputy asshole.

  16. Constitutional carry should be the law of the land. The signers of the Constitution had this in mind when they penned the 2nd Amendment.

  17. How can another human being tell you what your constitutional rights are. It’s your right to bear arms it’s the 2nd amendment. I think this is a bunch of bull crap. You need to pay for a training course that’s a joke. You have more guns in the streets without a permit to carry than you do with permits. I think it would be much safer. The problem with this country is that we elect a bunch of high paying clowns to make decision for us. They try to control our Lifes and tell us what is good or bad for us but when you look at them and their family’s they are doing opposite. Just getting richer with corporation paying them to pass a bill. They need to give us our rights back its the constitution right to bear arms without a permit. Why would you need another piece of paper that you have to pay for to tell you that you have permission to carry a firearm. Half of the time the one’s who are doing the killings are the cops that they give permission to carry a firearm.

  18. “…Gov. Ron DeSantis has promised to sign whatever the Republican super-majority in the legislature…”

    Regale me, if you will, with those fine old myths about how the GOP is the party that staunchly defends the rights’ of the people come rain or shine.

    LOL. Two wings, one bird. You’re the prey.

      • Reform the GOP into a useful party by gutting it, particularly at the top.

        Ditto the RNC so that you’re not 2-5 cycles behind the DNC at any given point in time. (Usually 2-3.)

        The idea that the DNC had online donation collection for almost 15 years before the GOP answered it comes down to the same base reason that the GOP still can’t figure out ballot harvesting after it beat their ass redheaded stepchild style twice.

        Because the GOP/RNC are full of dipshits and are run by grifters who prefer to lose because being the party on the outs is where the money is.

        The evidence of this is so voluminous that it would literally fill a large book. Yet it is nearly universally ignored.

  19. Virginia has always had open carry because we never made a law making it illegal. We do have to get a concealed carry permit but it is quick and easy.

    • Strange how this is true in most states except the big ones.

      Red or Blue, big states have generally been against OC. Texas, Cali, New York and Florida all have “OC problems”. Texas sorta remedied their issues, but not really.

        • A mix of things.

          Mostly people actually getting off their ass and pressuring their elected reps because they realized that the rules were crazy and that blue states were more gun friendly than Texas was. (In many regards this is still the case, none of the blue states near Texas require, as Texas does, a CC permit in order to OC.)

          The Texans didn’t really get much, but a barking dog does occasionally get a bone.

          The demographic realities of Texas make it harder though. In large cities, even the Team Red folks tend to be purple at best.

  20. Article IV Relationships Between the States

    “Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause”

    Has violation of this section of the Constitution been adjudicated where a communist state attacked a citizen of a Constitutional carry state? Could be expensive/painful to create standing.

  21. I would say vote them out, Senator Kathleen Passidomo and the Florida Sheriffs, that do not support a full Constitutional Carry law that includes open carry. Must be a lot of Rinos in the Florida House and Senate. Get rid of them next election cycle.


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