Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Firearm open carry remains illegal on campus despite July 1 permitless law

Firearms are still prohibited in public places such as schools, courthouses, airports, and at sporting events, as well as some private businesses.
Ron DeSantis at the signing of bill HB 543 on April 3, 2023. Photo courtesy of DeSantis’ press office.

Editor’s note: FAU Student Government President Dalia Calvillo declined to comment, saying Student Government (SG) members will only comment on SG programs. FAU College Democrats, Republicans, and multiple faculty members also declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

Since the enactment of HB 543 on July 1, there has been considerable uncertainty surrounding the implications of the new permitless gun carry law in Florida. The fact is that the new law doesn’t change who can purchase a firearm, what firearms can be carried, or the three-day waiting period. 

Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 543 into law in April, making Florida the 26th state to not require a concealed weapons license.

“Concealed carry” refers to the possession of a hidden firearm that is legally owned. Before this bill, Florida required individuals to undergo special training and to obtain a license. Prior to the passing of HB 543, Floridians needed a concealed weapon permit to carry a hidden firearm, with limited exceptions. After July 1, anyone who already legally owns a gun may carry it concealed without a license. 

The FAU Police Department released a statement on social media explaining what the law changes mean for the campus territory, outlining four crucial points: First, they emphasized that firearms will continue to be prohibited on school premises. Second, carrying a concealed firearm in Florida still requires the same criteria as for a concealed weapon. Third, open carry remains illegal under most circumstances. Lastly, the new law does not change the three-day waiting period or who is eligible to purchase a firearm.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office released a podcast interview with Sheriff Ric Bradshaw explaining HB 543 in depth. One of the most important clarifications he made was regarding who can carry a gun.

“The new law does not change who can purchase a firearm or the waiting period to purchase any firearm. There is still a mandatory three-day waiting period where the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does the background check alongside with the Florida Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center,” Bradshaw said. 

To carry a concealed firearm in Florida, one must meet the same criteria required for a concealed weapons permit as outlined in Florida Statute 790.06: the person must be a lawful U.S. citizen and at least 21 years of age without any felony convictions or other disqualifying conditions outlined in the statute.

The change maintains state and federal regulations regarding who can buy a gun including that requiring one to be 21 years of age and to undergo a background check.

Bradshaw also explained that one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the new law is that people can carry a gun anywhere: “It still remains prohibited to carry [a gun] anywhere outlined in 790.06, including but not limited to schools, any college or university, and government meetings.” 

Even though live-fire training is no longer required, experts encourage Floridians to receive proper training for safety purposes. 

The bill now makes gun training a personal responsibility rather than a legal one.

Private businesses and property owners may still prohibit guns. They will also be prohibited at bars, courthouses, schools, sporting events, and airports. Carrying a firearm in such areas can result in charges, fines, or arrests.

“Even though it’s permitless carry, the same places that were off limits before are off limits on July 1,” said Tampa International Airport Police Chief Charlie Vazquez at a press conference

Despite the law change, permits are still available for those who may want to carry concealed weapons in states with which Florida has reciprocity agreements.

Sofia De La Espriella is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or message her on Instagram @sofidelaespriella.

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About the Contributor
Sofia De La Espriella
Sofia De La Espriella, Editor-in-Chief
Sofia is a senior double majoring in multimedia journalism and history. She is passionate about governance, foreign relations, and the Latin American region. On a determined path toward graduate school, Sofia aims to specialize in these fields and acquire an in-depth understanding of their intricacies. Ultimately, she aspires to become a respected political journalist.

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