Florida media starting to freak out over Constitutional Carry

AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

With Gov. Ron DeSantis seemingly on board with the idea of dropping the requirement that legal gun owners in Florida obtain a government-issued license before exercising their right to bear arms, the prospects of Constitutional Carry becoming law in the Sunshine State are now high enough that we’re starting to see the media freakout over the prospect begin in earnest.

This weekend, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper had a big feature on the impending fight over permitless carry, and while they note that similar legislation has been filed in recent years only to quietly die in committee, this year the momentum behind the movement appears to be having an impact.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican, would both remove the requirement of a concealed weapons license in order to carry a gun and allow Floridians to carry them visibly. It also means no gun owner would have to pay an application fee, a fingerprinting fee and varying costs for the required safety training courses or classes — some of the current application requirements.

The bill would also reduce the penalty for bringing a gun into a prohibited place, such as courthouses, polling places and campuses, from a third-degree felony to a second-degree misdemeanor — changing the maximum punishment from five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine to 60 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine.

… With DeSantis expressing support, Sabatini wrote in a recent op-ed published with John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, in the Orlando Sentinel that the bill’s “chances of adoption have greatly improved.”

Anybody who can legally own a gun “should be able to carry a firearm at any given time,” Sabatini told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I think it’s important to have a law on the books to allow people to defend themselves without government permission.”

Luis Valdes, Florida state director for Gun Owners of America and retired Florida law enforcement officer who supports the bill, said the current license requirement in Florida “turns a right into a privilege,” one that proponents fear could be taken away.

“The idea of having to get a permission slip from the government to exercise an inalienable right that an individual is born with is ludicrous. That’s why 21 states have passed it,” Valdes said.

Meanwhile, gun control activists who’ve helped introduce or popularize made-up phrases like “ghost guns” and “assault weapons” would like to have a word with whoever came up with the term “Constitutional Carry”.

“There’s nothing constitutional about it, at least not now … So that’s the term that gun industry and gun activists want you to use. But it’s a very biased term,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Oh the irony of a spokesperson for a gun control outfit that brands itself as a “gun safety” organization complaining about the implicit bias in the phrase “Constitutional Carry.” As for Anderman’s claims that there’s nothing constitutional about the idea, is she saying that Constitutional Carry is actually un-constitutional? It sure sounds that way, though I doubt even Anderman could explain why not requiring a government-mandated permission slip to carry would violate Floridians’ constitutional rights.

And in fact that’s not the argument that Anderman made to the Sun-Sentinel. Instead, she claims that removing the licensing requirement would lead to a gunpocalypse.

The organization’s year-end report says five states in 2021 alone removed laws that required concealed carry permits: Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee and Utah.

“Guns carried in public pose a substantial threat to public safety. A robust body of academic literature shows that when more people carry guns in public, violent crime increases,” the organization’s year-end report says, and the organization cites research that says in ”states with weak permitting laws, violent crime rates were 13% to 15% higher than predicted” than if not in place and that “weak concealed-carry permitting laws are also associated with 11% higher rates of homicide committed with handguns compared with states with stronger permitting systems.”

“Having a gun actually makes you and the people around you more likely to be shot. So, by bringing guns into public, everyday disagreements are more likely to turn into shootouts,” Anderman said.