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HomeNew GearFloridians Want Constitutional Carry, So Why Aren't Lawmakers Listening?

Floridians Want Constitutional Carry, So Why Aren’t Lawmakers Listening?

Rep. Chuck Brannan III (R), refusing to answer a simple yes or no question on bringing up Constitutional Carry for a vote.

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Last week Floridians gathered in front of their State Capitol building and openly exercised their First Amendment rights in an attempt to secure and better their Second Amendment rights.

Digital flyer for the event.

KrisAnne Hall of the Liberty First Society organized the rally in support of constitutional carry and invited a number of guest speakers to promote freedom. Gun Owners of America was one such group invited and yours truly was there to spread the word about permitless carry in the Sunshine State.

Floridians wanting Constitutional Carry.
A Floridian admonishing Sen. Danny Burgess for making the classification of Strawberry Shortcake as an official state dessert more important than advancing Floridians’ civil liberties. Sen. Burgess called his bill a “berry important piece of legislation.”
A proud Floridian unafraid to let lawmakers know where she stands on the issue.
During the entire event, some from the crowd stood by the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway with signs. Plenty of motorists showed support by honking their horns.

Every time I speak at an event, I am humbled by the number of Floridians who agree and turn out in support of gun rights.

Informing those that gathered the truth about how our Republican Supermajority in the legislature does not advance the torch of liberty when it comes to Second Amendment Rights.

I brought petitions for the crowd to sign and deliver Governor Ron DeSantis (R), Senator Danny Burgess, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Chuck Brannan III, Chairman of the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Together, we went into the Capitol and delivered our petitions. First to Gov. DeSantis’ office followed by Sen. Burgess’ office.

Florida Gun Owners in front of Gov. DeSantis’ office.
Gun Owners turning in their petitions to the Governor’s staff.
Notice that a good portion of the crowd are women. Everyone wants to be able to freely exercise their civil rights.
Sen. Burgess’ office, notice the strawberry shortcake sign on his office door. That’s apparently more important than Floridians’ Second Amendment rights.
Petitions being turned into Sen. Burgess’ staff.

The message was simple. We want House Bill 103 (constitutional carry) to be brought up for a vote in the House’s Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee which is chaired by Rep. Brannan. We want Gov. DeSantis to openly back HB 103 and we want Sen. Burgess, as the Senate’s Judiciary Committee chairman, to introduce a proposed committee bill that mirrors HB 103. Simple right?

We went to Rep. Brannan’s office last. As were were delivering the petitions to his legislative aid, Rep. Brannan stepped out of his office, directly into the crowd of Floridians who want constitutional carry passed.

Here is the end result.

As soon as he realized what was happening, he cut and ran without answering a simple yes or no question about constitutional carry. It was like Punxsutawney Phil saw his own shadow and ran back into his burrow.

Page 12 of the Republican party’s national platform flat out states that constitutional carry is a party plank. Yet in Florida, a state with a Republican supermajority, the bill isn’t even advancing to be heard and voted on in committee.

Rep. Brannan appears to be doing the same as his predecessor, Rep. Cord Byrd. As the committee chair last year, Rep. Byrd refused to bring the constitutional carry bill forward for a vote and it appears that this year, Rep. Brannan is doing the same, using the same tired excuses. “There needs to be a Senate companion bill, if not then it doesn’t advance.”

However, when you ask them to point out such a rule in the legislature’s procedural rulebook, they can’t. That’s because there is no such requirement. It’s a shell game and nothing more.

I remember Schoolhouse Rock’s I’m Just A Bill and last I checked, the Florida legislature operates under the same system.

If the Republican leadership continues down this path, I wonder how this will affect the GOP in the November elections and, more importantly, in the August primaries. Because a lot of people in Florida are tired of the establishment misleading voters. Gov. DeSantis already alluded to this during the State of the State address.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis calling out anti-gun lawmakers during the State of the State address, January 11, 2022.

But, if Gov. DeSantis wants to run in 2024, he need to openly and clearly call for the passage of constitutional carry the same way Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia recently did and the same way Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did last year.

Governor DeSantis will be judged on how he stands on the Second Amendment in regards to those other Governors. He has already proven that if he tells the Florida Legislature to jump, they will ask him how high. Now he needs to issue the call.

Luis Valdes is the Florida Director for Gun Owners of America.

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