May 2, 2022 - Politics

DeSantis pushes legislature to pass open carry law

Illustration of a sun with the rays made from bullets.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gov. Ron DeSantis again stated bluntly that he expects lawmakers to send him legislation that would allow the open carry of guns without any kind of license or permit.

Why it matters: You currently need a license to carry in Florida, which requires proof that you've taken one of a variety of firearms safety training courses.

  • So-called "constitutional carry" laws hold that it's an American's fundamental right to own a gun and would remove any requirement for training or government licensing.

What they're saying: "I can't tell you if it's going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill," DeSantis said Friday in rural Levy County.

The other side: "This is absurd political pandering from the governor of a state that has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in our country's history and in a nation where we have the highest rates of gun violence in the world," Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried, whose department oversees weapons permits, said in a statement.

  • Fried took the opportunity to announce that her department suspended seven gun licenses held by individuals involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Of note: Florida has a giant loophole in the existing law. It is legal to open carry without a permit if you have evidence that you're going or have been fishing, hunting or camping.

What we're watching: DeSantis said "before I'm done as governor," so we wonder what it says about how he thinks of his future if he tries to cram this into the special session called later this month to address the property insurance crisis.

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