Ron DeSantis’ political future becomes flashpoint in permitless carry debate

'If open carry isn’t added to this bill it shows political impotence on the part of Governor DeSantis.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ expected run for President is the unstated backdrop to much of the action in the 2023 Regular Session that began this week, but that prospect burst into the open during the debate over a bill allowing for permitless concealed carry of firearms.

Frustrated by the GOP-led Legislature’s refusal to add a provision to the bill allowing gun owners to carry firearms openly in public, some gun rights advocates turned their ire on DeSantis.

“This inaction by the Legislature undermines the Governor’s agenda, which of course hurts his chances in the upcoming Presidential Primary,” Central Florida gun rights advocate Matt Collins told the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee. “I like Gov. DeSantis, but quite frankly the inability to get open carry included in this bill is embarrassing for him. It’s weak. It’s failed leadership.”

“If the Governor cannot get a very friendly legislature to add open carry to this bill, then how do we think he will do trying to convince Congress to act on anything if he were to become President?” Collins added. “If open carry isn’t added to this bill it shows political impotence on the part of Gov. DeSantis.”

DeSantis has said he’d sign an open carry bill if the Legislature passes it, but hasn’t made it a central plank of his agenda for the Session.

The bill (SB 150) passed on a 13-6 vote mostly along party lines, but Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Miami Republican, joined Democrats voting against it. The measure is now headed to the Senate floor.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, said she doesn’t favor open carry because the Florida Sheriffs Association doesn’t support it.

“The Sheriffs, who I deeply respect, who are in the business, who understand the issues do not support open carry in the state of Florida,” Passidomo said Tuesday, the first day of the 60-day Regular Session. “I don’t know one end of a gun from another so I certainly want to support the experts and that’s why I support the permitless carry.”

That approach angered some open-carry advocates.

“Gov. DeSantis’ book is called The Courage to be Free. Do you have that courage?” asked Louis Valdez, Florida state director of Gun Owners of America. “Do you serve the people, do you serve the community, or do you serve the Sheriffs?”

Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat, took umbrage at the suggestion the Legislature should rubber stamp DeSantis’ proposals.

“There are three co-equal branches of government,” Thompson said. “We are the legislative branch and we’re not here to make sure that whatever agenda the Governor has is passed.”

Many gun control advocates also spoke out against the bill’s move to permitless carry.

“This bill is reckless, this bill is dangerous and we don’t want it in our communities that are already bleeding,” argued Susan Kennedy of Moms Demand Action, a gun safety advocacy group.

Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican who is sponsoring the bill, said it was important to remove the hurdle of the permit process to enjoy the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but also argued the bill was a good step forward even if it falls short of open carry.

“We simply cannot risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory because of an all-or-nothing approach,” Collins said.

Gray Rohrer


  • Ron DeSantis wears High Heels

    March 9, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    As long as he keeps wearing those SEXY high heels he can do whatever he wants. I think Ron DeSantis would make an excellent drag queen in those heels. 🤤

  • Jeanne

    March 9, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    DeSantis is right to pause on bringing open carry to Florida. It will cause problems.

    • DeeDee

      March 9, 2023 at 7:19 pm

      Open carry has not caused problems in any of the other states that allow it. Governor DeSantis said he supports Constitutional Carry but the current permitless carry bill falls substantially short in it’s current form. One reason I support open carry is because right now as a concealed carrier, if for some unintentional reason my firearm is detectable visually, a person can make a big deal about that. That is crazy. So many women carry in their handbags because trying to conceal carry is not always feasible with ladies fashions. Personally, I think carrying concealed off-body is far more dangerous than open carry.
      Most people prefer to carry concealed.

  • Peggy

    March 9, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Republicans: The United States is the BEST country in the world!

    Also Republicans: The United States is so dangerous, that everybody should be armed!

    It’s mind boggling. We don’t see this kind of stuff in actual, civilized nations.

    • DeeDee

      March 9, 2023 at 7:21 pm

      You don’t understand Republicans or why all Americans should care about the 2nd amendment.

      • Peggy

        March 10, 2023 at 9:00 pm

        Guns are Right Wing fashion accessories.

        Change my mind.

        • Jim Smith

          March 11, 2023 at 11:42 am

          Not possible. Your mind is obviously closed to rationality and facts.

        • Paul Passarelli

          March 11, 2023 at 2:20 pm

          Boxcars are a fashionable way to travel to the gulags, Siberia, or the concentration camps.

          Just ask Elliott Offen’s or Joe Corsin’s paymaster, George Soros.

    • Ken

      March 10, 2023 at 9:43 am

      In a lot of those “civilized” countries you can be arrested for saying mean things. I prefer dangerous freedom.

      • Peggy

        March 10, 2023 at 9:00 pm

        Name one.

        • Jim Smith

          March 11, 2023 at 11:41 am

          The UK.

        • Ken

          March 11, 2023 at 12:38 pm

          Anti-royal protesters are being arrested in the U.K. as the ‘Not My King’ tag grows – NPR

          Police arresting nine people a day in fight against web trolls – The Times

          TROLL TRIAL Mum-of-two who branded a transgender woman a ‘pig in a wig’ is convicted of sending offensive tweets – The Sun
          (She won on an appeal)

    • Jim Smith

      March 11, 2023 at 11:43 am

      Can you say “non sequitur”? Do you know what a non sequitur IS?

  • Chip

    March 9, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    A Constitutional carry provision should be added to SB150 which would recognize my Right to Bear Arms as something other than just a suggestion or something that must be hidden as not to scare people. I get that some people are afraid of guns but their dislike of guns is not a reason for them to not acknowledge, accept or respect my Right to “bear” them as I please….Your feelings do not trump my RIGHT!

    Also, what “problems” will open carry cause that it has not caused in 24 other states? NONE, so stop with those kind of excuses.

  • Paul Passarelli

    March 9, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    the article states: “Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat, took umbrage at the suggestion the Legislature should rubber stamp DeSantis’ proposals.”

    Apparently Thompson only believes in the principles of Democracy, in actuality a ‘Democratic Republic’, when her party is in control of the legislature!

    The ‘Democrat Party’ has lost touch with reality. Which is why it really does need to be cancelled.. We’ll get there eventually, but that’s a discussion for another post.

    • DeeDee

      March 9, 2023 at 7:28 pm

      She also perhaps doesn’t get that we are a Constitutional Republic, not a Democratic Republic.

      • Paul Passarelli

        March 10, 2023 at 10:37 am

        Hi DeeDee,

        Thank you for the clarification.

        Someday I will learn to type a little slower. I was in a hurry to go start cooking dinner. The combination of words was in my mind, but what often happens is that I *think* that I typed a word, but my fingers failed to send all the words to the keyboard, in the correct order.

        I get it, but I doubt that most of the Useful Idiots that side with Thompson will.

        — In Liberty

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn