Apopka firearms instructor urges training despite new permitless carry law

Shay Davis owns, operates gun shop property in Apopka

APOPKA, Fla. – At the Expert Marksman Academy near US-441 and Hiawassee Road in Apopka, a woman taking a weapons safety course Tuesday said it’s the training she needs to protect her family and her business.

“Training is everything because if you’re not trained you don’t know how to utilize anything in life,” Francis Mendoza said.

Shay Davis teaches the class and owns and operates a gun shop on the property. He’s been teaching people how to safely handle firearms professionally for six years and has been around guns for most of his life.

“I just hope people continue to be safe,” Davis said.

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Under a bill signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, Floridians will no longer need a permit or training to carry a concealed firearm. The legislation moved quickly in Tallahassee and has faced criticisms from both sides of the gun debate.

The law will allow people to carry concealed firearms without the training that is currently required to have a concealed carry license. It does not allow for open carry, and existing requirements for background checks to purchase a gun still apply.

When asked if this changes anything for Davis, he replied, “Not necessarily.”

Davis, who is dedicated to the safe handling of firearms, said he sees both sides.

“It’s a good thing, uh, for many people,” Davis said. “But I foresee problems later in the future.”

Davis added for many, the training and application process to carry a gun gives people a much-needed hands-on understanding of firearms. The gun shop owner said he hopes people will continue to seek out training despite it no longer being required under Florida law.

“Accidents happen everyday, so it’s important,” Davis said. “And, with that being out of play, I don’t know where we’re going to be doing now.”

The law takes effect on July 1, 2023. It is too soon for Davis to say for sure if less people will come and take lessons. He did say, however, many people who already have concealed weapons permits still come in for training.

“Business-wise, I am optimistic that we will still be going, but it could put a dent on a lot of firearms instructors in the area,” Davis said.

Davis said he believes it all boils down to personal responsibility, and he added that men and women of all ages who come to his shop want firearms training.

He hopes that continues for his business and others in Central Florida.

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.