BREAKING: Ron DeSantis Says He Supports Open Carry 

On March 2, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was publicly recorded telling a member of pro-Second Amendment organization Gun Owners of America that he backs the legalization of open carry in the Sunshine State. 

Luis Valdes, Florida director of Gun Owners of America, was able to get DeSantis on the record during a book tour stop in Jacksonville Beach. Valdes specifically was trying to get DeSantis on record about whether he would back open carry and if he would have it tacked on to current legislative items.

“Yeah, absolutely,” DeSantis said during a 10-second interaction that Valdes recorded. “I don’t think they’re going to do it, but I would absolutely.”

The governor’s office did not comment on whether the recording was authentic. 

“The governor strongly supports the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms, and he has repeatedly stated publicly that he hopes to sign constitutional carry legislation this year,” declared Bryan Griffin, one of DeSantis’ spokespeople.

Griffin also highlighted a comment DeSantis made in August in which he said he’s in favor of Constitutional Carry but “it really requires the Legislature to get it to my desk.”

Back in 2022, DeSantis announced his support for passing Constitutional Carry— the simple concept that any lawful individual can carry a firearm without having to beg the government for permission. Thus far, there are 25 states with Constitutional Carry on the books. 

Florida is one of the few remaining states to ban the open carry of firearms in practically all circumstances. In addition, New York and Illinois prohibit open carry. California largely prohibits open carry, with small carve-outs present for counties with populations fewer than 200,000 people. 

Valdes has been a critic of Florida’s current permitless carry bill, arguing that it doesn’t go far enough in terms of liberalizing Florida’s carry laws on open carry matters. Valdes has previously stated that if DeSantis was truly a pro-Second Amendment champion, he would pressure the Florida state legislature to take action. 

On March 3, Valdes said he hopes that his successful attempt to get DeSantis on the record will get the legislature to act.

Passing real Constitutional Carry would help Florida greatly boost its pro-gun profile, which took a hit on former Governor Rick Scott’s watch, after passing legislation that enacted red flag gun confiscation orders, a  ban on bump stocks, an increase in the age to buy a firearm to 21, and a three-day waiting period for all firearms transactions. Florida is currently ranked in a sub-par 27th ranking for Gun & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings. Passing Constitutional Carry would definitely improve its pro-Second Amendment standing.

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