Roughly half of the states in the U.S. have laws on the books that recognize "constitutional carry," or the right of the people to lawfully carry firearms in public, either openly or concealed, without first obtaining a permit from the government to do so.
According to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), he expects the Sunshine State will join the list of constitutional carry states next year if the legislature passes a bill for him to sign into law, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Gov. DeSantis revealed his expectations in regard to constitutional carry during a press conference on Friday, just one day after Florida House Speaker Paul Remmer (R) announced that the House would likely approve such a measure in the next legislative session that begins in March.
"Basically, this was something that I’ve always supported," DeSantis told reporters of the right of gun owners who aren't otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms to lawfully carry a firearm in public without a permit from the state.
"The last two years, it was not necessarily a priority for the legislative leadership," the governor added. "But we’ve been talking about it, and [Renner’s] pledged publicly that’s moving forward, and it’ll be something that will be done in the regular session."
Currently, per the Times, Florida gun owners must first apply for and receive a concealed weapons permit from the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services if they wish to legally carry a concealed firearm in public.
With regard to the likelihood that Florida could soon become the next state to recognize the right of constitutional carry, Florida Politics reported that Gov. DeSantis pointed out that such a move "puts us in line with the majority of states."
"Even states like Vermont and New Hampshire have been able to do that," he added. "So we’ll get that done."
Indeed, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, at least 24 states already have some form of constitutional or permitless carry, where there are very few if any restrictions or permit requirements imposed on the right of the people to bear arms either openly or concealed in public.
Those states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
As Gov. DeSantis alluded to in his remarks, he has previously expressed his support for prior legislative efforts to pass constitutional carry in Florida and his willingness to sign such a measure into law.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported in May that DeSantis had signaled his approval of a permitless carry bill under consideration at that time and said in a press conference, "I can’t tell you if it’s going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill."
The outlet made note of other instances earlier in the year when the governor had expressed his expectation that the legislature would pass a constitutional carry bill and stated his clear intent to sign into law such a bill once it reached his desk.
To be sure, anti-gun Democrats and their media allies will fear-monger and wail and moan over such a move, but it is the right thing to do and, as evidenced by the two dozen other states that already show deference to the Second Amendment rights of their residents, constitutional carry won't result in a return to the old Wild West or incessant bloody shootouts in the streets -- at least not any more so than in states where gun rights are tightly restricted.