TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken on the hot-button issue of gun rights, and for one South Florida community, this issue hits especially close to home.
DeSantis on Friday said that the Sunshine State is trailing behind many other states when it comes to gun rights.
“We’ve used to be a leader on [the] Second Amendment,” he said.
That’s why he is promising big changes before he leaves office, like passing “constitutional carry” gun legislation.
“There’s like 25 states that have already done it,” DeSantis said.
These laws allows people to carry handguns without a concealed weapons license or permit.
In Florida, those applications are currently processed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, ran by Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida.
Fried is also one of the governor’s challengers in this year’s gubernatorial race.
“You have a situation where the official in charge of these permits doesn’t support Second Amendment rights, so why would you want to subcontract out your constitutional rights to a public official that rejects the very existence of those rights?” DeSantis said.
Fried put out a statement shortly after the governor’s announcement. It reads in part, “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. It’s an insult [to] the memories and families of every victim of gun violence.”
The plan is also not sitting well with some Parkland parents either.
Fred Guttenberg. whose daughter Jamie was one of the 17 victims killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting, took to Twitter to weigh in on the issue.
One of the last times Florida lawmakers pushed through a major piece of gun legislation was after the Parkland shooting in 2018.
Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin, was one of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas called the governor’s remarks repulsive.
“The fact that we’re just waiting for the few weeks that are left in the trial for the murderer of my son, and Governor DeSantis is just planning to move one with this bill,” said Oliver “it amazes me how can someone be so, um, I don’t want to use the right word because you won’t air it.”
The legislation passed one of the nation’s toughest gun control laws and was signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott.
DeSantis did not discuss a timeline or specify whether or not he would be adding the issue to a special legislative session, which is set to start May 23. The session is expected to focus on property insurance.
Neighboring states Alabama and Georgia have enacted forms of constitutional carry laws in the last few months.
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