Gun rights activists say permitless carry misses target, should be rejected by Gov. DeSantis
It's not quite constitutional carry in Florida, says Marion Hammer.

Gun Rights Texas
The Senate is expected to pass the legislation Thursday.

As the Senate prepares to pass a permitless carry bill, many hard-line conservatives say Gov. Ron DeSantis should reject it.

“This bill is a half-measure and is not what gun owners were promised,” said gun activist Matt Collins. “It isn’t true Constitutional Carry because it doesn’t include an open carry provision. This bill is weak and failed leadership on part of Governor DeSantis and the Republican legislative leadership. Gun owners deserve better.”

The Senate is expected to pass a bill (HB 543) that would eliminate Florida’s requirement for a concealed carry permit in public settings. The legislation has provoked strong feelings on both sides of the aisle, and Senate Republicans on Wednesday shot down a series of amendments proposed by Democrats.

But throughout the Legislative Session, hearings on legislation attracted at least as many critics from the Right.

Young Americans for Liberty, a campus-focused conservative group, even papered the home district of Rep. Chuck Brannan, the bill’s House sponsor, with flyers demanding open carry provisions. That led to a verbal altercation between the Macclenny Republican and an activist in the driveway of his home.

Now the group wants DeSantis to send lawmakers back to the drawing board on the bill, even suggesting the Governor’s signature could hurt his political ambitions.

“It would be a shame if Ron DeSantis signs this milquetoast Counterfeit Carry bill,” said Sean Themea, Chief of Staff at Young Americans for Liberty.

“By signing a bill that keeps open carry illegal, DeSantis is putting political expediency ahead of the full Second Amendment rights of Floridians. This was a chance for him to stand up to the RINOs in his own legislature and demand a clean bill. If he can’t do that in his own state, how can gun owners trust him to do that at the national level?”

Still, DeSantis signaled he intends to sign the legislation. While the Republican Governor and presidential contender has promised to make constitutional carry law before the end of his time as Governor, he said this week he will sign what the Legislature gives him.

“In terms of the constitutional carry, I’m for everything,” DeSantis said this week. “But if they (the Legislature) send me something that is 90% or 80%, I mean, I’m going to take that win and we can come back for more at some time in the future.”

Florida’s most prominent gun rights supporter said that’s the right approach. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer said the bill falls short of true “constitutional carry” but said activists can’t condemn lawmakers for giving less than all they want.

“While the bills may not be perfect and may not contain all of the provisions that many would like to see in the bill, they are nonetheless a good first step toward restoring the constitutional right to carry in Florida,” she wrote in a mass email.

But that position has other groups firing off.

“Republicans are showing their true colors on restoring our Second Amendment rights here in Florida,” said Luis Valdes, Florida state director of Gun Owners of America, after the House passed the bill. “Whether it’s repealing gun free zones that only put innocent people in danger, or having the guts to pass Open Carry, they are failing miserably.”

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].


  • Elliott Offen

    March 30, 2023 at 11:34 am

    You better start approving those comments there Mercury Ed. Those mercury shampoo lawsuits are coming.

  • Darnell Hobbs

    March 30, 2023 at 11:46 am

    If you see anybody in Florida that’s not a police officer openly carrying a gun in public, the smart thing to do is assume they are another mass shooter and shoot them on sight before they can commit an atrocity.

    In todays America this seems like a reasonable and logical thing to do.

    • Billy Rotberg

      March 30, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Great! I will use the money I win from the lawsuit to buy more guns! YOU will be arrested for swatting. Enjoy prison!

      • Elliott Offen

        March 30, 2023 at 11:55 am

        You sound like a terrorist or something or some neo nazi karen. You will be jailed before anyone because of your entitlement and borderline criminal mentality. Just ask Ashli Babbitt on the Ouija board. Trump taught her to play the harp.

        • Darnell Hobbs

          March 30, 2023 at 2:10 pm

          Nope, just somebody who values my own life over that of a potential murderer.

          In this climate, when mass shootings are a nearly daily event, I feel it’s logical and reasonable to shoot anybody openly carrying a gun in public before they can shoot me.

          You know, “Stand your Ground” and all that.

          Also, the NRA is a Terrorist organization.

      • Darnell Hobbs

        March 30, 2023 at 2:12 pm

        You won’t win a lawsuit because you’ll be dead.
        Play stupid games by carrying a gun in the open, win stupid prizes.

  • David Pakman

    March 30, 2023 at 11:52 am

    “We the people”..”We the Karens”..”We the Neanderthals”…all same thing. Bunch of nut bags from out back in the woods somewhere. Puppets for rich Republicans.. rich man’s militia. Need military intervention to crush the terrorists.

  • It's Complicated

    March 30, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    No one who is currently prohibited from obtaining a concealed carry license will be empowered to carry a concealed weapon after the Governor signs this bill. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON. If a person has a propensity to break the law (which is the primary reason a person to loses 2nd Amendment Rights), they won’t have any more problem ILLEGALLY carrying a concealed weapon after the bill becomes law than they do now.

    On the topic of open carry laws, states with that sort of law for the most part do no have a lot of knuckleheads openly carrying weapons. That is a classic red herring argument.

  • Otis Tidwell

    March 30, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    I own & operate a convenience store, and like others in this business, I’ve been robbed at gunpoint while in my store, and now I keep a shotgun under the counter for my own self-defense.

    If somebody comes into my place open carrying, I’m blasting them first. Asking questions later. Castle Doctrine, Stand your Ground, and all that. I see a gun, I assume i’m getting robbed again, and i’m not letting that happen.

    Thankfully I live in Florida where deadly force against threats is not only legal, but actively encouraged.

    The entire George Zimmerman thing set that precedent.

  • aaron

    March 31, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    I am for concealed carry but not open carry , because I want to surprise the bad guy, not let him know I carry. That makes sense to me…

Comments are closed.


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