By: José Niño
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to sign Constitutional Carry into law in the event the Florida Legislature sends the bill to his desk.
“We’re thrilled that Gov. DeSantis has pledged his support for Constitutional Carry – now the legislature must act swiftly, pass Constitutional Carry through both chambers, and get it to Gov. DeSantis as soon as possible,” said Matt Collins, Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights.
While attending a reception the Florida GOP held at the Governor’s Mansion on December 3, Collins was able to talk to Gov. DeSantis. Once he had his attention, Collins asked if he would sign Constitutional Carry into law. DeSantis instantly replied, “Of course.”
“There’s no excuse for the Florida Legislature to delay the passage of HB 103, Constitutional Carry. With Gov. DeSantis on board, and self-proclaimed pro-gun Republicans in control of both chambers, law-abiding gun owners in Florida deserve to see their elected officials restore gun rights in 2022,” concluded Collins.
Constitutional Carry is the simple concept that any law-abiding individual should be allowed to carry a firearm openly or concealed, without having to beg the government for permission.
As of now, 21 states have passed Constitutional Carry. In 2021 alone, five passed this legislation. For perspective, there were only two states (Alaska and Vermont) that had Constitutional Carry when Barack Obama assumed the presidency in 2009. Now, that number has increased more than tenfold and will likely grow even more as additional red states start passing the legislation.
Florida Gun Rights views Constitutional Carry as a legislative priority and plans on tracking this legislation throughout the 2022 legislative session.
To get DeSantis to sign this legislation, Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini recently filed HB 103 — Florida’s Constitutional Carry bill. Sabatini is Florida’s most pro-Second Amendment representative in the state legislature and will be one of the most vocal figures promoting legislation to restore the Second Amendment in the Sunshine State.
While Florida is known for having solid Stand Your Ground laws and other policies that allow for people to use lethal force against dangerous criminals, the state’s gun laws still need work. Guns & Ammo magazine placed Florida in 25th place for best states for owners. Similarly, the magazine ranked Florida in 22nd place for best states for concealed carry.
Passing Constitutional Carry would go a long way in boosting Florida’s Second Amendment profile, which took a hit in 2018, when Gov. Rick Scott signed a red flag gun confiscation order, a bump stock ban, and increased the age to buy a firearm to 21. While Florida is solidly Republican, Second Amendment activists will have their work cut out for them due to how the aforementioned gun control package received significant support from both parties in the legislature.
Nevertheless, with how polarized politics have become, and the increased grassroots energy bursting in state legislatures nation, there is a strong chance that the Florida State Legislature could be convinced to pull the lever for Constitutional Carry, at long last.
As always, the key is applying enough pressure from below to make elected officials carry out the will of gun owners.