Gov. DeSantis vows to sign constitutional carry measure before leaving office

Stand your ground
DeSantis' remarks on the issue rank among his strongest endorsements yet.

Constitutional carry may soon become the law of the land in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed Friday to eventually sign legislation removing the need for Floridians to acquire a concealed weapons permit.

Florida would join roughly two dozen other states, including Texas and Alabama, if he makes good on the promise.

“I can tell you that before I am done as Governor, we will have a signature on that bill,” DeSantis told an applauding crowd outside a restaurant in Williston.

DeSantis’ remarks on the issue rank among his strongest endorsements yet.

The Republican Governor spurred media buzz last year when he expressed support for constitutional carry in a passing remark during a private event at the Governor’s Mansion. The Governor’s Office later described the remark, though, as a “general statement.”

Florida — which some call “The Gunshine State” — is known for its residents’ affinity toward concealed carry permits. Nearly 2.5 million civilians hold concealed carry permits as of March 2022, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the agency charged with the administration of the license, among others.

“We used to be a leader on the Second Amendment,” DeSantis said.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried helms the department as Florida’s lone statewide elected Democrat. An outspoken critic of the Governor, she is seeking to oust DeSantis as a Democratic gubernatorial contender. The pair often exchange blows.

“The official in charge of these permits doesn’t support Second Amendment rights,” DeSantis jabbed without naming Fried. “Why would you want to subcontract out your constitutional rights to a public official that rejects the very existence of those rights.”

A spokesperson for Fried later objected to DeSantis’ characterization. In a statement, FDACS Deputy Communications Director Caroline Stonecipher pointed to a recently filed lawsuit which they argue empowers gun owners.

The suit, filed last week, takes issue with a federal rule banning gun ownership for cannabis patients. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Attorney General Merrick Garland are defendants in the case. Fried holds both a medical marijuana license and a concealed carry permit.

“The Governor’s comments are completely nonsensical,” Stonecipher said in an email to Florida Politics highlighting the lawsuit. “She was also elected to oversee the concealed carry program in Florida and won on a platform of ensuring background checks for concealed weapons permits, so perhaps it is the Governor who is out of touch with Floridians on this issue.”

DeSantis stopped short of offering a more specific timeline on the legislation. News of his willingness to sign a proposal, though, will excite proponents who’ve repeatedly watched the GOP-controlled Legislature pass on the issue.

Howey-in-the-Hills Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini has repeatedly filed legislation to enact constitutional carry without luck.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


5 comments

  • Mildred

    April 30, 2022 at 3:04 am

    Copycat DuhSantis rushing to imitate America’s Governor Greg Abbott, who already did this just like abortion and immigration. All Little Ronnie can do is imitate the great Gov Abbott. Even in a wheelchair Gov Abbott stands head and shoulders above this Florida circus joke. If Trump doesn’t run the real republicans will eat him alive in the primary.

    • Tom

      April 30, 2022 at 3:09 am

      Real Tom here. Methed out toothless legend. All those rinos were copying DeSantis before the fact! The next thing Abbott copies DeSantis on you’ll know because DeSantis will reveal weeks later that he was the one working on it.

  • Whit

    April 30, 2022 at 3:28 am

    DeSantis does seem to be a bit of a copycat. Every time Noem or Abbott or Kemp pass conservative legislation DeSantis loudly tries to copy them. Like watching a 12 year old jr high lunchroom bully. Come primary time it will be fun watching real republican governors call him out on it. I mean the timeline speaks for itself. And Noem is gunning for DeSantis bc he locked down Florida and then tried to act like he didn’t.

  • Antonio

    May 2, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    This is a good thing. It may get messy for a bit in heavily populated urban areas, but it will quickly chill things out. The assumption of an armed populace keeps crime down, that is an undeniable fact.

  • Mike Scobie

    May 4, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    If constitutional carry passes, there will be over a dozen states Floridian will no longer be allowed to carry in. And how are you supposed to tell a police officer you’re carrying a gun. I’d rather just hand over my permit that says at all.

Comments are closed.


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