Will Florida become an open carry state like the overwhelming majority of states, including Texas? A video shared by the National Association for Gun Rights shows Gov. Ron DeSantis is willing to sign a constitutional carry bill into law if passed by the Legislature. The video was captured at a reception at the Governor’s Mansion on Dec. 3.
The bill (HB 103) would allow law-abiding citizens to practice open and concealed carry by removing laws that require a concealed-weapons permit in Florida.
“Of course,” DeSantis is overheard saying in the video when asked if he would sign the bill.
Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini is the bill sponsor.
Sabatini announced plans to file the proposal after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a constitutional carry law in his state. “Meanwhile here in Florida, Anti-2A ‘Republicans’ in the Legislature REFUSE to allow my Constitutional Carry Bill to move forward,” Sabatini wrote on Twitter.
Since his 2018 election to the House, Sabatini has repeatedly filed the measure. Republican leadership, however, has never scheduled a committee hearing for the bill, and the issue has met opposition from gun safety groups. Proponents of the measure hope the tides will shift during the 2022 Legislative Session.
“There’s no excuse for the Florida Legislature to delay the passage of HB 103, Constitutional Carry,” said Matt Collins, Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights. “With Gov. DeSantis on board, and self-proclaimed pro-gun Republicans in control of both chambers, law-abiding gun owners in Florida deserve to see their elected officials restore gun rights in 2022.”
In a response to an inquiry by Florida Politics, the Governor’s Office described DeSantis’ remarks as a “general statement.” “The governor cannot comment on the details of legislation that he has not seen yet,” added Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis. “Our office will be monitoring legislation throughout the process and will let you know if we have any updates to share on this topic.”
The bill, if passed, would align Florida with 21 other constitutional carry states, according to the group. Florida Gun Rights considers the proposal among its top legislative priorities. Florida — dubbed “The Gunshine State” — is known for its residents’ affinity toward concealed carry permits. Of the state’s 21.5 million residents as of 2020, nearly 2.4 million civilians have concealed carry permits as of the end of August. If approved, the bill would take effect immediately.
Whether or not you agree with open carry, this Bill would do away with the need to obtain a concealed carry permit. Before you get too concerned, the Bill states: Carrying of Firearms Without Licenses: Removes requirement that license to carry concealed firearm is required in order to carry such firearm; limits areas in which concealed carrying of firearm is prohibited; revises criminal penalties; revises provisions relating to carrying of concealed weapons or firearms by nonresidents; provides for issuance of concealed carry licenses for reciprocity purposes; specifies person not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing firearm or other weapon may own, possess, & lawfully use firearms & other weapons, ammunition, & supplies for lawful purposes. While not everyone will agree that this is awesome, those of us in the 2A Community should applaud anything that supports the “Shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment.