Joe Henderson: Lawmakers need a moment of pause on constitutional carry
Constitutional carry in Florida; how's that going to work?

constitutional carry
Guns don't make us safer because guns are the problem.

We don’t yet know if the upcoming Special Legislative Session on property insurance rates will expand to include the gun lobby’s beloved constitutional carry. Many people believe that’s what will happen.

However, whether it happens quickly or remains on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ to-do list, I assume we’ll eventually be stuck with that law. DeSantis would love to have that checkmark on his resume when — oops, if — he runs for President in 2024.

“I can tell you that before I am done as Governor, we will have a signature on that bill,” he said at a gathering late last month.

Simplified, constitutional carry is the right to own and carry a gun without a license or training. If you believe that applies, the logic of the old bromide that the only thing stopping a bad guy with a gun is … oh, you know.

Well, on Saturday, at the scene of the mass murder in Buffalo, there was a good guy with a gun. Aaron Salter Jr. was a retired police officer working as a security guard at a grocery store when 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly began his murderous, racist rampage.

Salter fired his weapon at Gendron, but the shooter wore a bulletproof vest and returned fire.

Gendron died.

Yes, everyone should remember him as a hero.

What does that have to do with Florida and constitutional carry?

Maybe more than you think.

Suppose the gunman entered a store in our state, but there was no security guard. He starts firing, people panic, and untrained good guys decide to save the day. Instead, they make it worse.

The thought of that possibility should give lawmakers a moment of pause.

It’s bad enough when some people want to brandish their weapons in public places openly, but constitutional carry takes that to a new level.

When people apply for a concealed weapons license in Florida, they are fingerprinted and undergo a background check.

If lawmakers eliminate those steps, it opens the floodgates for illegal purchases. Convicted felons, for instance, generally can’t buy a gun in Florida. If constitutional carry passes, the black market for firearm sales will be red hot.

However, you rarely hear that from the staunchest gun rights people. They envision a world with a gun in every backpack and a backpack for every gun.

Take state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, for instance.

“If somebody wants to carry a firearm for their own self-defense, they shouldn’t have to beg government permission and pay money (for a license) for the exercise of their fundamental God-given right,” he told Spectrum News 13 in Orlando.

A fundamental God-given right?

What church does he attend? The first church of bang-bang?

Tell me, what part of holy scripture deals with constitutional carry? I try to read the Bible every day, but I’ve yet to find that passage. I’ll keep looking.

Here’s one thing I am sure about, however.

Guns don’t make us safer because guns are the problem.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • ScienceBLVR

    May 16, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Another gross misinterpretation by SCOTUS of the true intent of the second amendment as written. A well regulated militia, is certainly not what constutional carry will bring to Florida.

    • Richard Bruce

      May 16, 2022 at 8:15 pm

      Why not? We, as citizens of Florida, are de facto militia members. How will carrying a firearm concealed be wrong but, carrying the same firearm exposed be alright? What historic reference supporting your claim regulates any militia to carrying firearms only exposed in clear view of the enemy?

      • Marc Pecora

        May 18, 2022 at 1:47 pm

        USC Ch. 12: The Militia – The militia of The United States consists of all able bodied males at least 17 years of age…. It goes on to say it can be organized unorganized men and women. SO it’s pretty much all of us are considered Militia.

  • Richard Bruce

    May 16, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    Logic doesn’t make sense. 1st – writer is afraid that some untrained firearm owner will open fire against a mass murderer and make the situation worse. The writer must think it’s OK for the bad guy to keep shooting for minutes until the police arrive. I will hope anyone will return fire after the first round leaves the criminals firearm. 2nd, getting a CWP has nothing to do with firearms purchases. So how will it affect illegal sales? 3rd – 2nd Admt is an intranational right to carry a firearm. It doesn’t say how, when, or why. 4th – Yes, self-defense is a God given right. Catechism 1929, 2263, 2266, and 2321 clearly restates Biblical views on self-defense.

  • Nancy

    May 16, 2022 at 8:28 pm

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  • tom palmer

    May 16, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    As I understand it, the concealed carry permit system originated at the request of law enforcement officials. It will be worth watching whether they become involved in this issue if it comes up.

  • The Truth

    May 16, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Melania walked into the boudoir and dropped her bag at the table by the door. Trump sat in the corner watching three tvs at the same time. Melania kicks off her heels and walks in stocking feet to the corner near her closet to fetch her favorite kitten heel slippers and night coat. Trump frowned. As Melania walks by she rakes her long acrylics over his shoulders to try to relax him. He winces. What’s wrong mr president she asked. “That little turd DeSantis keeps copying me”. “Everyone copies you, you’re Trump.” “ But this loser is like a washed out, Canal Street counterfeit of me” he said. “Everyone can spot a canal street job from a mile away” she tried to reassure him. “The little people can’t. They go to canal street and think they’re getting Gucci, tags, Rolex’s, but they’re just getting DeSantises.” “Don’t worry about it Mr. President, DeSantis is no Trump!” she cooed. Trump stand up to face her intensely with a wry smile breaking the corner of his mouth “And Casey’s no Melania”.

    • Ed Smith

      May 22, 2022 at 11:12 am

      May the Lord Bless you and heal you of the evil that posseses your soul. Calling men’s wives whores and insinuating former president Trump had sex with Governor DeSantis’s wife just because you are against their political and moral philosophy is definitely in the realm of evil and lends strong credence to Elon Musk’s statement that the Democratic Party is the party of hate and division. I’m sure it violates the standards of this forum as well, but whoever is supposed to look after that got something in their eyes when they allowed it to be posted.

  • SteveHC

    May 16, 2022 at 11:05 pm

    I predict there will be no faster route to the destruction of Florida’s tourism industry than a “constitutional carry” law.

    • ScienceBLVR

      May 17, 2022 at 6:29 am

      Great point, Steve. Especially those Europeans who love to come here and drop thousands with Mickey, Europe, where guns are much much less present in public and yet their countries have an extremely low gun violence rate when compared the Wild West US. Apparently, everyone there does not have to be strapped to survive..

      • Rich7553

        May 17, 2022 at 10:35 am

        Oh, please! Every time a pro-gun rights bill is proposed, the gun-haters claim it will hurt tourism. Thirty-five years ago, they said shall-issue carry licensing would destroy tourism. It didn’t. The parking lot law and stand your ground law brought the same hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth. And yet each and every time, tourism remained unaffected. Please peddle your nonsense elsewhere.

    • ALM

      May 17, 2022 at 7:20 pm

      Disney shot itself in the foot when it decided to challenge a bill that will prevent children from being exposed to sexual deviancy at an early age
      Also Disney doesn’t care about the average family anymore they want to cater to single, funko pop collecting, manchildren who will pay $2k to play pretend at a disney resort.
      Also the tourists can eat a D**K, they have no right to tell us what to do in our own land

    • Deez Nutz

      May 18, 2022 at 10:18 am

      Even a better reason to bring it on! Thanks for giving us ideas to make Florida less appealing to y’all snowbirds & transplants. Go to Cuba if you want a communist state. Only 90 more miles!

  • Fred Williams

    May 17, 2022 at 10:09 am

    Why is Mr. Henderson mixing together two separate subjects. He writes that Constitutional carry will “open the floodgates for illegal purchases”, but a Constitutional carry measure has no effect on the laws regarding purchasing firearms. Constitutional carry only removes the barriers to lawful firearm owners carrying their firearms in public. To purchase a firearm at retail, which is how the vast majority of people buy their firearms, all the same laws would still apply, i.e. background check conducted by the FBI and FDLE, and a waiting period.
    Also, Mr. Henderson believes Constitutional carry will destroy tourism, but offers nothing to support that notion. 25 states now have some form of Constitutional carry. Why would residents of those states fear the same law in Florida? Additionally, Constitutional carry does not prevent private property owners, such as theme parks, hotels, and resorts, from prohibiting firearms on their private property. All of the theme parks have done so since shortly after the attacks of 9/11. Their security measures certainly have not scared away tourists for the past two decades.
    As for the knock on the language of a “God given right”, that’s just verbiage. Self-protection is a fundamental human right. A natural right inherent in each of us. It was protected by the Founders via the language of the Second Amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” is merely a prefatory phrase to explain a reason for the operative phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It dies not limit the the of the people, nor tie it to militia service. It protects an individual right. A right which has been absent in Florida for too long.
    Repeal FSS 790.01 and 790.053, and return our rights.

  • Joseph

    May 17, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    Constitutional carry doesn’t change how legal firearms are obtained.
    “If constitutional carry passes, the black market for firearm sales will be red hot.” Makes no sense.

  • Tinesley

    May 17, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    “Why is Mr. Henderson mixing together two separate subjects. He writes that Constitutional carry will “open the floodgates for illegal purchases”,

    The simple answer: he is just another liberal know-it-all, know nothing journalist hack.

  • Eric L.

    May 17, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Constitutional carry needs to happen faster than anything. It specifically says in his manifesto he chose an area that had strict gun laws in order to avoid people with guns! This country needs more good people with guns!


    May 17, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    So 25 states have Constitutional Carry, THEY don’t have ANY of what he says will happen.

  • N.H.

    May 18, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    This post is a very low-T take.

    Also, Gendron is in custody; he didn’t die.

  • Glenn

    May 19, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    Luke: 11:21 ESV / 400 helpful votes

    When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe;

    Exodus 22:2-3 ESV / 359 helpful votes

    If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

    Luke 22:36 ESV / 265 helpful votes

    He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

  • David Sloan

    May 19, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    It’s really a shame the author of this piece was not required to have a permit, you know a permit approved by the state and subject to denial and loss of that right to his shared opinion . He really should have a permit just to express his views. I think that would make us safer.

Comments are closed.


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