DeSantis defends FL gun laws after Jacksonville

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pretty busy of late. He’s running for president, for one thing, and he had to deal with a hurricane ravishing his state. Then, on top of everything else, he had a mass shooting in Jacksonville.


Through all of that, he’s also having to take questions from people in different places about different things. That kind of goes along with being a governor and a presidential candidate.

And he apparently got one question that’s basically just a repeat of what gun grabbers have been saying since Jacksonville happened.

He answered it.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis became visibly upset and raised his voice at a press conference attendee Thursday who attributed loosened gun policies DeSantis has signed to the racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville last month that killed three Black people.

During a Q&A session at the end of a Covid-related press conference in Jacksonville, the audience member accused DeSantis of allowing “weapons to fill the street into [the hands of] immature, hateful people,” referring to the gunman who carried out the targeted attack on August 26, leading DeSantis to tell the audience member, “I’m not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity—I’m not going to take that.”

DeSantis, gesticulating angrily and raising his voice, said, “You don’t get to come here and blame me for some madman,” adding, “That is not appropriate, and I’m not going to accept it.”

When the audience member, who is Black, said DeSantis allowed “people to hunt people like me,” the governor dismissed the notion as “nonsense” and argued that his administration “has done more to support law enforcement in this state than anybody throughout the U.S.,” adding, “Our crime rate in Florida is now at a 50-year low.”


Of course, people want to make a lot about DeSantis getting visibly upset, but I can’t say that I blame him.

Anti-gun voices have repeatedly echoed the idea that Florida’s loose gun laws are the reason why Jacksonville happened.

The thing they’re missing is that the only real loosening that happened was permitless concealed carry of handguns. That played absolutely no role in Jacksonville as AR-15s aren’t known for being concealable.

What Florida does have is a red flag law that apparently did absolutely nothing despite being passed in the wake of Parkland and billed as the way to stop future mass shootings.

I hate to break it to folks, but there will always be hateful people out there. There will always be those who want to kill members of some group for some perceived slight or whatever. Laws can’t eliminate that, but they sure can make it worse if those who are already angry are made to feel targeted because of something they didn’t do.

Take DeSantis getting worked up here. He was accused of facilitating those murders. He didn’t do anything, so he got angry. Who wouldn’t?

Especially when there are no rules anyone could have put in place before that would have stopped Jacksonville. No, not even an assault weapon ban would have prevented it. At best, the killer would have just used a different firearm. I mean, he had a handgun on his person already. It’s not a stretch to say he’d have just used that instead.


The killer was 21, which is the legal age to buy any firearm in Florida, which also became law after Parkland and was claimed to have been necessary to stop other mass shootings. He had no criminal history that would prohibit him from buying a gun lawfully. He even underwent a background check.

What laws could possibly have been put in place to prevent this tragedy?


Which is why DeSantis was right to lash out at the accusations.

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