By Matt Collins
When government requires a permit to exercise a right, it is no longer a right, but a privilege.
That’s why Florida Gun Rights has been leading the charge to pass constitutional carry in Florida, which means that if you are legally allowed to possess a firearm, then you should be allowed to carry it without begging for a government permission slip.
Twenty-one states recognize some form of constitutional carry as law of the land, including five states that passed it earlier this year: Texas, Montana, Utah, Iowa, and Tennessee.
Florida’s Gun Control Status Quo
Sadly, while nearly half of the country has focused on restoring gun rights for its citizens, weak-kneed Republicans in the Florida legislature have taken the state backwards by passing gun control.
Even citizens of liberal New England states such as Maine, New Hampshire — and Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont — get to exercise their freedom to constitutionally carry their handguns.
Meanwhile, law-abiding Floridians continue begging for government permission slips to carry concealed in order to protect themselves and their families.
Worse, Florida is one of only four states that do not have any form of open carry, putting it in the same league as the rabidly anti-gun bastions of California, New York, and Illinois.
A Deafening Silence from the Highest Republicans in Office
The Florida legislature is one of the strongest Republican majorities in the country, including even Texas, which was the most recent and largest state to pass a constitutional carry law.
That means there should be no excuses for failing to pass constitutional carry in the so-called “Gunshine State.”
Unfortunately, under the direction of Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls, self-proclaimed “pro-gun” Republican Representative Cord Byrd killed the 2020 constitutional carry bill by refusing it a committee hearing, much less a vote.
To exacerbate matters, Governor Ron DeSantis has been silent on constitutional carry during his three years in the Governor’s mansion.
Even politically moderate Greg Abbott of Texas called on the Texas legislature to put constitutional carry on his desk. That is why Florida Gun Rights is calling on Governor DeSantis to do the same in 2022.
With DeSantis a leading contender for the GOP nomination for President in 2024, alienating a large swath of pro-gun Americans by failing to pass constitutional carry would be ill-advised.
FLGR’s Plans to Strike Back!
The best way to alter the anti-gun trajectory of the Sunshine State is by mounting a strong, pro-gun offense. That is why Florida Gun Rights is teaming up with pro-gun State Representative Anthony Sabatini to file constitutional carry for the second year in a row.
In fact, FLGR is already launching a massive mobilization effort to identify as many pro-gun patriots across Florida as possible.
By collecting constitutional carry petitions, mailing dozens of targeted Florida House and Senate districts, launching targeted digital ads, and deploying tens of thousands of text messages, FLGR is working tirelessly to build the grassroots army needed to turn up the heat on legislators in Tallahassee.
With an anti-gun Biden administration attacking gun rights from the White House, constitutional carry in Florida couldn’t be timelier.
And after a wave year for constitutional carry across the country in 2021, 2022 may prove to be the best opportunity to get the job done in Tallahassee.
Matt Collins is Director of Legislation for Florida Gun Rights
This article appears in the fall edition of The Defender, the official newsletter for Florida Gun Rights. www.FloridaGunRights.org. Sign your constitutional carry petition to your Florida lawmakers today here.