DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Debate of Liberty vs. Tyranny

Last week, America watched as two of the most popular governors from two of the most populated states duked it out head-to-head on a nationally televised debate. As they defended their political stances, policies, and reasons for why each state is the role-model for our country, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Gavin Newsom of California exchanged heated remarks. Both DeSantis and Newsom claimed their state was the freest in the nation while arguing over childcare, parental rights, economic policies, crime, and of course, gun rights.

As Gun Owners of America’s national spokesman and Florida state director, this debate was especially important because I personally experience the result of Florida’s policies that were defended by DeSantis, and viciously attacked by Newsom. Additionally, I have family in California and hear directly about their lives under Newsom’s aggressive liberal policies in the Golden State. Right off the bat, Gov. Newsom attacked Gov. DeSantis’ for signing Florida’s permitless concealed-only carry bill into law in 2023 – claiming that it caused higher crime rates in Florida.

Unsurprisingly, Newsom’s claim is patently false as crime rates have not risen in Florida because of the bill’s passage. Additionally, Gov. Newsom claimed that the bill allowed convicted felons to purchase and carry firearms – yet another bald face lie. Florida’s criminal statutes, specifically chapter 790 states that a convicted felon in Florida can’t legally possess, purchase, carry, or even touch a firearm. Additionally, federal law bars a convicted felon from legally purchasing or carrying a firearm as well. Gov. Newsom was simply doing what gun-grabbing anti-freedom politicians always do: lie in front of the American people to push their political narrative. His narrative is all about disarming law-abiding Americans and making them slaves to the state, all while criminals continue to target disarmed citizens.

While Gov. DeSantis and Gov. Newsom battled back and forth about their state’s crime statistics, the proof is in the pudding. Criminals are criminals because they break the law. No matter how many bans, restrictions, and laws are passed, criminals will still be criminals. I know that from my 15 years wearing the badge in Florida as a sworn officer of the law. Gun free zones, unconstitutional waiting periods, background checks, permitting schemes, carry bans, and age restrictions don’t stop criminals from committing crimes. The only thing gun control does is hurt the law-abiding from being able to protect and defend themselves.

Murder, rape, burglary, arson, and theft are all crimes in and of themselves. Does your average criminal sit there and think to themselves: “Gee, mugging some woman walking to her car from the hair salon is a felony, maybe I shouldn’t do it.” No, they don’t think that. What does make them think is this: “It’s damn easy for folks to buy and carry guns. I don’t know if that woman walking to her car from the hair salon is packing. I’m going to try some place else; I don’t want to get shot.”

That’s the honest truth of the matter. You know it, I know it, and even both Gov. DeSantis and Gov. Newsom know it. The difference is, Gov. Newsom is an authoritarian despot holding office who loves China’s communist dictator Xi Jinping, and he simply just doesn’t care. Gov. Newsom has claimed he’s all for Californians being safe in his state, yet under his leadership, crime appears to be such a problem that stores are putting everything behind barricades, closing down, and people are scared to walk their own sidewalks while wearing jewelry for fear of being attacked and robbed.

California has a revolving-door criminal justice system in which violent offenders are cut loose and on the streets with a slap on the wrist, and law-abiding Californians are left defenseless. Californians must jump through numerous hoops to be able to legally purchase and carry a firearm – a system so convoluted and purposefully difficult to traverse that legally protecting yourself with a concealed handgun is next to impossible. And those who abide by the law and make it through California’s unconstitutional rigamarole then have the added problem of being criminally prosecuted for defending themselves in a self-defense situation, all while repeat violent felons are coddled by the criminal justice system and the police. Now, Florida isn’t a perfect paradise for gun owners mind you.