DeSantis promises to sign ‘constitutional carry’ gun law before he leaves governor’s office – Orlando Sentinel

Second Amendment

Speaking before residents in North Central Florida, Ron DeSantis on Friday promised he’d sign “constitutional carry” gun legislation into law before he leaves the governor’s office.

“We used to be the leader on Second Amendment issues,” DeSantis said, noting that 25 other states have already passed “constitutional carry” laws, which allow people to carry handguns without a concealed weapons license or permit.

In Florida, those applications are processed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, run by Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida. “The official in charge of that doesn’t even support the Second Amendment,” DeSantis said during an event in Levy County.

Fried, who is running for governor this year, denounced his comments as “absurd political pandering,” noting that Florida has experienced several of the worst mass shootings in the country.

“It’s an insult to the memories and families of every victim of gun violence,” she said. “We should be passing laws to prevent gun violence and working to fix our state’s affordable housing crisis, not creating chaos to score political points.”

DeSantis is up for re-election this year and is heavily favored to win a second term. But he also appears to be setting the stage for a presidential launch in 2024, reaching out to national audiences with his criticism of the Biden administration, which he called “The Brandon Administration” to laughter from Friday’s crowd outside the Ivy House restaurant in Williston.

And he’s been engaging in a battle with the Walt Disney Corp. for its opposition to his Parental Rights in Education bill, which opponents have dubbed “don’t say gay” and supporters have called an “anti-grooming” bill.

The gun issue is another hot topic with conservatives in the Republican party.

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DeSantis said it was “one thing I wanted the Legislature to do” but couldn’t say how or when it would happen, without acknowledging the fact that a “constitutional carry” bill from Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, died at its first committee stop earlier this year without being heard.

“I can’t say if it will be next week or in six months, but before I’m done as governor” it will be signed into law, DeSantis said.

He has set a special session for the week of May 23 for the Legislature to deal with property insurance reform, but the call doesn’t include “constitutional carry” or any other issues.

That doesn’t mean he couldn’t, as he showed when he expanded April’s special session on congressional districts to include the dissolution of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and eliminating an exemption for Disney from his Big Tech bill.

Florida legislators in 2018 passed one of the nation’s toughest gun control laws, much to the surprise of the National Rifle Association, which has successfully fought such attempts in Florida for decades.

But after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — which occurred while the Legislature was in session — lawmakers crafted a bipartisan bill that was signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Scott.

The NRA filed a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality because it raised the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, among other things. A federal judge dismissed that challenge last June.

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1 Comment

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