Anthony Sabatini wants lawmakers to force a Special Session on ‘constitutional carry’
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/16/21-Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, during session, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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He wants members to contact the Secretary of State's Office.

Rep. Anthony Sabatini wants a Special Session on constitutional carry legislation. He sent a message to House colleagues to make the case that enough members desire the same.

“We must act now to get this bill,” the Howey-in-the-Hills Republican wrote.

Sabatini has filed legislation to establish an open carry law in Florida for three years, but his bills have not been heard. His most recent legislation (HB 103) sought to eliminate Florida’s concealed carry permit requirements. He has said requiring individuals to get a permit to bear arms was akin to a “permission slip from government before concealing a weapon for their self defense.”

Now he’s following a similar path as Sen. Jeffrey Brandes, the St. Petersburg Republican pressing for a Special Session on insurance reform. Sabatini provided a template letter and encouraged House colleagues to send those back on official letterhead to Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

If Lee’s Office receives letters of support from 32 lawmakers, the Department of State will send official documents to all lawmakers to officially ask if they support a Special Session. It takes the support of three-fifths of members in both chambers of the Legislature — or at least 72 Representatives and 24 Senators — to force a Special Session.

But many Democrats in the Legislature immediately responded to Sabatini’s call in the negative.

“As a gun owner and permit holder, I can state with no equivocation that any attempt to create a permit-less carry system in Florida is stupid and dangerous,” wrote Rep. Michael Grieco, a Miami Beach Democrat.

It’s unusual for member calls to succeed, though Brandes recently said he has the votes to make a Special Session take place on property insurance, an issue that failed to make it across the finish line during the regular Legislative Session. One key difference, though, is that property insurance legislation collapsed because of differences between the Senate and House on details.

Sabatini’s constitutional carry bill this year never had a Senate companion bill, despite Senate President Wilton Simpson saying he supported the concept. Sabatini publicly accused House Speaker Chris Sprowls of preventing the bill from getting a committee hearing during Session and “blocking” the bill.

In his message to lawmakers, Sabatini noted a key difference in the political environment this year. Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he would sign a constitutional carry bill.

“Gov. DeSantis has repeatedly called for constitutional carry to be placed on his desk,” Sabatini wrote.

Sabatini has tried to go this route before. He wanted to force a Session last year on COVID-19 restrictions but didn’t have the members’ support, though such a Session ultimately was called by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Sabatini didn’t show up until partway through.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


4 comments

  • It's Complicated

    April 14, 2022 at 9:24 am

    Because he appears devoid of diplomacy skills, in 2022, as a member of the majority party, he couldn’t get a single bill placed on a committee agenda. His political style seems to be limited to name-calling and childish tweets, leading to persona non grata status within his own party. I’d wager the NRA didn’t ask him to lead the effort.

  • *

    April 14, 2022 at 10:41 am

    More so Republicans In Name Only such as Sprowls need to be swept aside so the Governor can pursue his agenda without having to fight his own party.

  • Fred Williams

    April 14, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Self-protection is a fundamental human right. Part of that right is the ability to carry effective tools of self-protection. Doing so should not require special permission from the government. Is there a license to attend church? A registration to be free of unreasonable search or seizure? No. These fundamental liberties are long recognized as inherent and inviolable. It’s time we do the same for our liberties protected by the Second Amendment.

    • Educated guess

      April 14, 2022 at 2:32 pm

      You never used a gun in self defense in a safe way have you Fred?

Comments are closed.


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