Florida may soon become the next permitless gun-carry state.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis indicated he supports eliminating the permit requirement for concealed carry in Florida. When asked by a gun-rights activist at a private event, he said he would sign a bill to that end if one made it to his desk.
“Of course,” DeSantis said in a video made public on Tuesday.
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for the governor, said the video accurately represents his position. However, she noted the governor would need to see the details of an actual bill before commenting further.
“The governor cannot comment on the details of legislation that he has not seen yet,” Pushaw told The Reload. “The legislative session will start in January, and we will provide an update for you when that is available.”
The comments come as permitless carry has ridden a wave of momentum in red states. Five states have adopted it in 2021 alone with Texas becoming the largest state to do so back in June. Florida is one of the few remaining states where Republicans control all branches of the state government not to enact the policy.
The snowballing nature of support for permitless carry has put pressure on Republican leaders across the country to enact the policy. DeSantis, a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, may be feeling the pressure to take action but he is far from alone. Republican-controlled legislative bodies in Ohio and Pennsylvania recently passed bills eliminating concealed carry permits in the wake of Texas governor Greg Abbott signing a similar bill.
Matt Collins, the director of legislation for Florida Gun Rights and the man who asked DeSantis about the policy, said his group is excited about DeSantis being on board.
“We’re thrilled that Governor DeSantis has pledged his support for Constitutional Carry,” he said in a statement. “Now the legislature must act swiftly, pass Constitutional Carry through both chambers, and get it to Governor DeSantis as soon as possible.”
Pushaw pointed to comments from Republican Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield as an indication permitless carry legislation may be brought up during the upcoming session.
“I support constitutional carry,” Mayfield said during a legislative delegation meeting in late September, according to WCJB. “That is one of the things that we will probably be looking at this session because it is important.”
Florida GOP Chair and State Senator Joe Gruters also suggested he could support the policy, according to the news station.
Collins said gun-rights activists in the state are now more motivated than ever to get permitless carry passed into law.
“There’s no excuse for the Florida Legislature to delay the passage of HB 103, Constitutional Carry,” Collins said. “With Gov. DeSantis on board, and self-proclaimed pro-gun Republicans in control of both chambers, law-abiding gun owners in Florida deserve to see their elected officials restore gun rights in 2022.”