Floridian gun rights activists have been pushing for open carry for quite some time. While they want constitutional carry just like everyone else, they’ll likely be happy enough to get open carry. In fact, when I was attending an event down there, many of them were obviously carrying but had a kind of sock covering their firearms as a statement over the fact that they couldn’t carry openly. It was an intentionally half-assed concealment job and that was kind of the point.
While I’m not a fan of open carry, much less a proponent of it, I do think it has a time and a place. More than that, though, I believe every law-abiding American has a right to carry in whatever manner they wish.
Unfortunately, the law in Florida doesn’t agree with me.
However, someone else does, it seems, and he’s got the juice to change the law.
According to the National Association for Gun Rights, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has “pledged his support for Constitutional Carry” and would sign into law HB 103, the Constitutional Carry or open carry, measure already introduced in the Florida House of Representatives.
“We’re thrilled that Governor DeSantis has pledged his support for Constitutional Carry – now the legislature must act swiftly, pass Constitutional Carry through both chambers, and get it to Governor DeSantis as soon as possible,” said Matt Collins, Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights.
Gov. DeSantis allegedly made the promise this past Friday at the Governor’s Mansion, where he hosted the entire Republican Party of Florida Executive Committee.
The video clip included in the press release shows DeSantis being asked about supporting Constitutional Carry, but then the image moved away and only a muffled “Of Course” can be heard.
We have not been able to confirm with Gov. DeSantis if he actually said he supported the measure but will take the group at their word.
Obviously, constitutional carry is a bigger win than just open carry since it covers that and a whole lot more ground.
But the question is, did DeSantis actually agree?
First, the video:
The question is clear and DeSantis clearly says, “Of course.”
However, because the camera swings away, we don’t see specifically who DeSantis is talking to. While I can’t make out any other question in the audio, microphones don’t pick up everything the same way the human ear does, and they definitely won’t pick up what DeSantis actually heard at that moment.
That said, a sincere “of course” would certainly fit with what we know of the Florida governor’s other positions.
I’ve reached out to the governor’s communications office to seek clarification, but have not heard back as of yet. I’ll be sure to update this post should I hear back.
Oddly, the above-linked article focuses primarily on open carry rather than constitutional carry. As I said, that’s a bigger win than open carry and I don’t think any of my Floridian friends would cry about not just getting to carry openly but to carry in any way they want without a permit.
We’ll just have to wait and see if the legislature can make it happen.
Edited to add (5:02 PM Eastern): I heard back from Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’s press secretary.
Pushaw noted that this wasn’t an official event and that she wasn’t there, but noted:
I was not at the event where that video was filmed, as it was not an official event. But Governor DeSantis’ response “of course” speaks for itself. He swore an oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution, and the Constitution includes the 2nd Amendment.
To be clear, though, the question was hypothetical. The governor cannot agree to sign any legislation until he has a chance to read it.
Honestly, that’s fair. Read the bill and evaluate it then. After all, if a bill were to, say, require gun purchase licensing while removing a carry permit requirement, that would be a problem and I wouldn’t blame him for vetoing such a bill.
I don’t see that as likely, though, and Floridians may not have to wait long to see DeSantis keep his word.
Florida’s next legislative session starts next month, January 2022, and concludes in March 2022. Governor DeSantis hasn’t reviewed any proposed constitutional carry legislation for the next session yet because it hasn’t come across his desk. Per reports, Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield indicated the legislature would “probably be looking at” constitutional carry this upcoming session.
That’s very good news.