September 24, 2023

By Young Americans for Liberty

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Offical Photo
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Offical Photo : DeSantis is allowing establishment Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives to pawn their bill off as “Constitutional Carry” when it is anything but.

Florida – -( Last year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a promise to the people of the Sunshine State. He promised to pass and sign Constitutional Carry into law, permitting law-abiding Floridians to legally carry a firearm without special permission from the state.

Constitutional Carry—often called “permitless carry”—isn’t exactly a radical notion. Twenty-five states, including all of Florida’s neighbors, have implemented Constitutional Carry, reaffirming the Second Amendment.

Unfortunately, although Florida has the second most gun owners in the country, the state doesn’t have the best track record of upholding its citizens’ right to bear arms. The state has a dystopian “red flag” gun law on the books, allowing the government to forcibly take guns from people they decide shouldn’t have them and leaving law-abiding gun owners with little legal recourse.

One incident that raises questions about the governor’s own track record is the arrest of a peaceful pro-gun demonstrator at a DeSantis fundraiser. The protester wasn’t even attempting to carry a firearm; he was arrested for simply standing there with a sign. The fundraising event, it should be noted, was also made “gun-free,” despite the fact that doing so may have violated Florida law.

If Governor DeSantis reneges on his promise to pass true Constitutional Carry, he is sending a strong message to the rest of America that he will not stand up for Americans’ rights when the time comes.

This would be a big step in the wrong direction for Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida writ large. Both became synonymous with American freedom and ideals during the COVID-19 pandemic when Florida stubbornly remained open for the greater good, and the state cannot risk taking a step back now.

While Governor DeSantis himself has not openly endorsed specific legislation yet, he is allowing establishment Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives to pawn their bill off as “Constitutional Carry” when it is anything but.

Their bill, HB 543, does not permit individuals to open carry, nor would it allow young adults aged 18 to 20 to exercise their Second Amendment rights. If HB 543 were to reach Governor DeSantis’ desk and he was to declare it a Constitutional Carry victory, the Florida governor would go from being the man who fought COVID-19 tyranny to just another politician looking for a quick “win.”

There are nearly 350,000 gun owners in the state of Florida. Each and every one of them deserves the full constitutional protections provided by the Second Amendment. Governor DeSantis should not compromise when delivering on his promise. As the nation’s most active youth liberty organization, Young Americans for Liberty urges the Florida governor to keep his promise, defend the Second Amendment, and get Constitutional Carry—concealed carry and open carry—across the finish line.

About Young Americans for Liberty

Young Americans for Liberty is the nation’s most active youth liberty organization. YAL represents over 5,000 student activists at more than 500 colleges and universities across the country. The organization’s Hazlitt Coalition, dedicated to advancing the cause of liberty at the state level, includes over 320 pro-liberty legislators from more than 40 states. Constitutional Carry is one of the Hazlitt Coalition’s top legislative priorities in 2023.

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