White House tries to pick a gun fight with DeSantis over permitless carry

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis widely expected to announce his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in the near future, the Biden administration has become increasingly fixated on the governor and what’s going on in the Sunshine State. In recent days Biden or his White House flacks have gone after DeSantis for targeting Advanced Placement curriculum, and on Thursday White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took aim at the governor’s support for permitless carry; invoking the recent shootings in Orange County, Florida that left three people, including a local reporter, dead.


“This is the opposite of common-sense gun safety,” Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing. “And the people of Florida, who have paid a steep price for state and congressional inaction on guns, from Parkland to Pulse Nightclub to Pine Hills, deserve better.”

If Florida voters thought the state didn’t have enough gun control laws on the books, we’d probably be talking about the anti-gun legislation being promoted by Gov. Charlie Crist. But Crist, who panned permitless carry and called for a ban on “assault weapons” as the Democratic candidate for governor last year, lost to DeSantis by nearly 20 points last November as Floridians squarely rejected his anti-2A demands.

As for the “steep price” that Florida has supposedly paid for its lack of interest in infringing on the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms in self-defense, maybe Jean-Pierre should take a look at the crime stats in Florida and compare them to those in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware. A quick look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data shows a clear difference between the two, and not in favor of the Democratic-controlled state where lawmakers have imposed a number of new gun control laws in recent years.

Florida’s violent crime rate has been steadily falling since before DeSantis took office in 2018, and it’s now lower than the U.S. average. Delaware has also seen its violent crime rate drop over the past decade, but not as far or as fast as in Florida.


Delaware’s homicide rate is also higher than Florida’s, as well as the national average.

Florida isn’t crime-free but it’s both appreciably safer than Biden’s home territory of Delaware and far better at respecting the Second Amendment rights of its residents. As for Jean-Pierre shamelessly trying to exploit the murders of three people in order to bash permitless carry, the 19-year old suspect was well known to law enforcement, and had already accumulated more than a dozen arrests on charges that include armed robbery and aggravated assault. The armed robbery charge came when the suspect was just 15-years old, but according to Orlando news station WKMG, resulted in a sentence of “likely just a few months” at a low-level residential facility for juvenile offenders.

Keith Moses’ status as a convicted felon, even as a juvenile, precludes him from legally possessing a firearm, and that wouldn’t change under Florida’s permitless carry bill; something that Jean-Pierre is either unaware of or (more likely) simply doesn’t care about. This is the same administration, after all, that routinely points to shootings where handguns were used to call for bans on so-called assault weapons, so it’s not surprising to see them point to a crime believed to be committed by a prohibited person to object to as a reason to oppose a measure allowing legal gun owners to exercise their right to armed self-defense without having to beg for permission from the state.


If Biden really wants to pick this fight with DeSantis, I have a feeling the governor is going to be more than happy to engage. Floridians are both safer and more free than their counterparts in the president’s home state, and with half the country already adopting permitless or Constitutional Carry laws the president and his press secretary have once again reminded voters in 25 states of the threat that Biden and his administration pose to both their fundamental civil liberties and their personal safety.


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