I drove eight hours to testify at a hearing earlier this month on the current bill, and walked away ecstatic when witness after witness demanded
the addition of Open Carry. In contrast, when pressed about Open Carry afterwards, sponsor Chuck Brannan (R-Macclenny) apathetically stated the bill “is what it is as filed.” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) shared similar sentiments with Rep. Brannan. This indifferent attitude is standing in the way of what the majority wants and are unified in demanding.
Just as damning, by keeping the current Open Carry ban in place, our Republican lawmakers will be maintaining a policy status quo that was championed and pushed across the finish line by the stalwart lobbying efforts of Janet Reno, then Miami’s leftist prosecutor and later the U.S. Attorney General. She’s the same person who accepted responsibility for the deaths of dozens of women and children after authorizing the government assault on a compound in Waco, Texas during the Clinton Administration.
Republicans, the party that champions the Second Amendment, hold a supermajority in our legislature. Instead of taking insignificant baby steps they hope will appease their base, they should take the large leaps for freedom which they’ve promised the voters. Lawmakers in more politically divided states have introduced and passed the very policy we are demanding, and guess what ― it’s popular!
Forty-seven states have Open Carry on the books in some fashion, including 25 via authentic Constitutional Carry laws. Even Hawaii, a Democrat Supermajority-run state whose entire economy relies on tourism, has Open Carry. Our two neighbors recently passed real Constitutional Carry, and South Carolina and Nebraska are poised to pass it this session.
The same old arguments about bad people getting guns and “Wild West shootouts” materializing in the streets will be raised, but we have a mountain of evidence from other states to refute these claims. And to clarify, this legislation has nothing to do with acquiring firearms, rather it only authorizes those who already own firearms legally to carry them in public without government permission.
Now is the chance for Governor DeSantis to once again step in and snag victory from the clutch of defeat by the members of his own party in the legislature. While he’s catching some flak over other Second Amendment missteps, he can prove the doubters wrong with this issue by demanding Open Carry before anything gets his signature.
We don’t want watered down legislation. We want the great leap other states have taken, which will put Florida at the forefront of liberty on another critical issue – and far away from New York, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. I’m urging Florida’s leadership to get it done, the right way!
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