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DeSantis says he will ask lawmakers to enact 'constitutional carry' legislation

DeSantis speaking at the podium
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will push lawmakers to enact constitutional carry legislation that would allow people to carry guns without permits during an unrelated press conference in Alachua County on April 29, 2021.

He says it's to help protect the state's Second Amendment rights while criticizing Nikki Fried, whose department issues concealed weapons permits.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will push lawmakers to enact constitutional carry legislation that would allow people to carry guns without permits.

DeSantis made the promise Friday in response to a question during a press conference in Alachua County.

DeSantis said he wants to follow the lead of other states that have passed similar laws.

Under current law, people who want to carry a gun must get a concealed weapon permit from the state.

He addressed what he called the lack of permits issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The head of that department is Nikki Fried, who is running as a Democrat for governor this year.

"You have a situation where the official in charge of these permits doesn't support Second Amendment rights. So why would you want to sub-contract out your constitutional rights to a public official that rejects the very existence of those rights?"

In a statement Friday, Fried called DeSantis' comments "absurd political pandering from the governor of a state that has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in our country’s history and in a nation where we have the highest rates of gun violence in the world."

"It’s an insult the memories and families of every victim of gun violence," Fried said in the statement. "We should be passing laws to prevent gun violence and working to fix our state’s affordable housing crisis, not creating chaos to score political points.”

DeSantis did not give a timetable but said it would be done before his term as governor ends.

"The legislature will get it done," DeSantis said. "I can't tell you if it's going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you that before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill."

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