Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), once again, made a plea for the Florida Legislature to get a constitutional carry bill to his desk. He made the promise to get the policy push done by the time he is no longer governor, and even floated the idea of a special session to get it done.
“I can’t tell you exactly when, but I’m pretty confident that I will be able to sign ‘constitutional carry’ into law in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a press conference last Friday. “The legislature will get it done. I can’t tell you if it’s going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you that before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill.”
Moms Demand Action, a gun control group, issued a statement in response.
“There’s nothing in the Constitution about being able to carry a firearm without a permit, without any kind of training, without any kind of accountability,” said Wendy Malloy of Moms Demand Action.
Except the text of the Second Amendment to the Constitution verbatim says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said DeSantis’ comments are “absurd political pandering.”
“This is absurd political pandering from governor of a state that has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in our country’s history and in a nation where we have the highest rates of gun violence in the world,” Fried said. “It’s an insult the memories and families of every victim of gun violence. We should be passing laws to prevent gun violence and working to fix our state’s affordable housing crisis, not creating chaos to score political points.”
— Kirby Wilson (@KirbyWTweets) April 29, 2022
But gun rights groups are ecstatic about the possibility of the policy change.
“We’re thrilled that Governor DeSantis has pledged his support for constitutional carry – now the legislature must act swiftly, pass constitutional carry through both chambers, and get it to Governor DeSantis as soon as possible,” said Matt Collins, Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights.
Florida would become the newest state among a trend of states that have adopted constitutional carry and deregulated their firearms laws. Constitutional carry has been hinted at for months now, but the Florida Legislature has not even taken the bill out of early committee stops.
However, Vice President of Policy and Director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the James Madison Institute, Sal Nuzzo, was a guest on The Morning Show with Preston Scott in Tallahassee and said that the legislature was likely not moving on constitutional carry because of the sponsor of the legislation.
NUZZO: “Representative Anthony Sabatini from down in Central Florida was polling members to try and trigger the process for generating the special session. What happens is he polls the members if he gets enough that the Secretary of State has to collect votes on whether or not to have one. Even a couple of Republicans were saying ‘no.’ My guess is he does not have the votes at this time to trigger…”
SCOTT: “That’s a case of the messenger, not the message.”
NUZZO: “I think it’s a case of the messenger not the message. The governor is on record for saying that he would sign a constitutional carry provision, I think if you were to ask members if they favor it, probably, my guess is, is that they may be just waiting Representative Sabatini out.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Governor Ron DeSantis. Background Photo “Man with Gun in Holster” by gmsjs90.