Governor Ron DeSantis Promises Constitutional Carry of Handguns in Florida Before He Leaves Office – Can He Deliver?

Toby Hazlewood

Will the governor make good on his promise this time?

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Just weeks after he allegedly 'demanded' that Florida's state legislature reconsider the introduction of so-called constitutional carry rights for gun owners, on April 29 Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has promised that he will get it signed into law before he leaves office.

The promise was made at a press conference about infrastructure improvements in the state, and brought cheers from the assembled crowd. While the substance of his promise remains unclear, it seems the governor is motivated to see this bill passed into law, in spite of the fact that it was rejected during Florida's legislative season.

Florida playing catch-up with other states?

Constitutional carry is the term that many apply to permit-less gun ownership and the right to concealed carry for those who can legally own a gun - usually citizens who are of-age and who don't have a criminal record - without the need for background checks, permits or training.

Constitutional carry was recently approved in the state of Indiana, in spite of initially being rejected in committee discussions. It is now possible to carry a gun openly in the state. Ohio and Alabama also adopted constitutional carry during this legislative season, as did Georgia.

And yet, HB103 was rejected by Florida's legislators who pushed back on the bill sponsored by Representatives Sabatini, Fischer and Roche. Since then, Governor DeSantis has requested that legislators reconvene to pass constitutional carry into law, and given his revisiting of the bill in this speech it seems like it's definitely front-of-mind for him right now.

A good or a bad thing?

When Texas adopted constitutional carry in September 2021, gun owners were positive about it. In spite of this, in the first 7 days after the law changed in Texas on September 1 there were 35 gun-related deaths and 7 injuries - 15 of those deaths occurred in Houston alone.

Part of the argument in favor of it is that with legal gun ownership simplified, law-abiding citizens can defend themselves and their property more easily and this may act as a deterrent to criminals.

This is certainly something that Sheriff Bob Johnson of Santa Rosa County seems to favor - he told a press conference last week that he encourages citizens to shoot at intruders in their home to protect their property and to 'save taxpayers money'.

Whether the governor will come good on his promise to legalize constitutional carry before he leaves office, remains to be seen.

Are you in favor of constitutional carry of handguns in Florida? Do you believe the governor will deliver on his promise? Let me know in the comments section below.

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