By: José Niño
As Constitutional Carry becomes the new legislative standard that red states nationwide are expected to embrace, there is more grassroots pressure than ever to bring states like Florida into the fold.
The Board of Directors of Florida Carry, a prominent, pro-Second Amendment group in Florida, released an open letter this past week calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to pass Constitutional Carry.
In the letter, the Board of Directors declared that they’re “tired of waiting” and “tired of hearing empty promises and accepting compromises by pseudo-Republicans.”
The Florida Carry leaders also declared that they’re “tired of donor money from the likes of Al Hoffman and Mike Fernandez, who benefit from gated communities and private security, standing in the way of the Constitution.” Hoffman and Fernandez are prominent donors in Florida politics who bankroll various leaders in the Florida political establishment.
The group expressed its exasperation with Constitutional Carry and other pro-gun legislation dying in committees controlled by supposedly pro-gun Republicans. In Florida Carry’s view, the right to keep and bear arms is still treated as a licensed privilege in the Sunshine State.
Florida was one of the trend setters for concealed carry reform when it launched a statewide licensing program for concealed carry licenses in 1987. From there, dozens of other states joined it in passing their own respective concealed carry reforms.
As the Florida Carry Board pointed out, however, Florida has some work to do on firearms policy. For example, Florida currently bans open carry.
On that front, Florida is falling behind most of the country: 45 states already allow open carry, while 21 states have Constitutional Carry on the books.
Florida Carry also alluded to how Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp came out in favor of Constitutional Carry, which should serve as further motivation for Florida to pass said legislation.
There are rumors that leadership in the Florida House and Senate have threatened to remove Republican legislators from their respective committee assignments if they file constitutional or pro-open carry bills.
For Florida Carry, such a rumor is unacceptable. Instead, they urged DeSantis to follow in Gov. Kemp’s footsteps and use his influence to push Republican leadership to move Constitutional Carry and open carry legislation forward.
Time will tell if DeSantis heeds Florida Carry’s call. What’s clear is that Second Amendment advocates will have to place constant pressure on the Florida State Legislature. Activism from below will always remain key for any legislative measure like Constitutional Carry to make progress.