Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he expects to approve changing Florida gun laws to allow what is known as “constitutional carry,” though it is not clear when that could happen.
DeSantis didn’t say whether he would add the issue to a special legislative session that will start May 23 on property insurance. But he said he intends to eventually sign such gun legislation.
“The one thing that I wanted the Legislature to do, and I think we will do it, I can’t tell you exactly when, but I’m pretty confident that I will be able to sign constitutional carry into law in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said while at an infrastructure-funding event in Williston.
Under current law, people who want to carry guns must get concealed weapons permits from the state. Constitutional carry would allow people to carry guns without the permits.
“The Legislature will get it done. I can’t tell you if it will be next week, six months, but I can tell you that before I am done as governor we will have a signature on that bill,” DeSantis, who is running for re-election this year, added.
Some Floridians are gun-shy about the idea -- including Z. Farhat, who manages firearm sales at Green Acres Sporting Goods. He says firearms are powerful tools and anyone who owns or uses them should undergo training, particularly, if that person is carrying a weapon in public.
“I feel like if you’re going to carry a gun on you, you should have to go through some kind of training and safety course, you know, I think anybody that even buying purchasing a firearm needs to educate themselves on proper firearm safety,” Farhat said. “Guns are not toys, they’re tools, and they should be respected.”
To get a permit in Florida, a person is required to pass a criminal history check. Florida does not require background checks on unlicensed firearm sales.
“It would make me uneasy,” said Jacksonville resident Tom Minitte. “There’s enough violence right now, so why do something that will have more people carrying guns?”
Katie Hathaway is from Mom’s Demand Action, which is a movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence
“This is a huge threat to public safety, not only Floridians, but also tourists and visitors and especially law enforcement officers,” Hathaway said.
She said that she and other gun control advocates are prepared to fight against this proposal.
“We advocate for common sense laws that we know will make our community safer and permitless carry will do the opposite of that,” Hathaway said.
There were some that spoke with News4JAX who were in support of constitutional carry, but did not wish to speak further on the matter.
Alabama and Georgia, both also under Republican governors, enacted forms of constitutional carry laws in the past two months.