Will ‘constitutional carry’ really be a top issue for Florida voters?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is continuing to call on state lawmakers to pass a so-called ‘constitution carry’ bill, vowing he will sign it into law before he leaves office.

Constitutional carry is usually defined as permit-less concealed and open carry, although the governor hasn’t specifically addressed open carry in his remarks on the policy.

“Of course, if you’re a felon you can’t, but you have to go through those checks as a matter of course just to simply acquire the firearm, to begin with. You know, the licensing scheme is kind of above that,” said DeSantis.

RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis expects to approve ‘constitutional carry’ in Florida

In his remarks Tuesday, DeSantis said he didn’t think there were the votes needed to pass a bill in the state legislature currently, but he said he believes it’s an issue voters will be looking at going into this upcoming election cycle.

“I know that this is something that a lot of people are gonna be looking at as we go forward into this next election,” said DeSantis.

But is it really an issue at the forefront of voters’ minds?

“It seems like it’s hard for it to compete against everything else that voters might be concerned about,” said UNF political science professor Sean Freeder.

Freeder argued maybe it would be more front and center in a normal election year, but this one is anything but normal.

RELATED: Florida Rep. to initiate call for special session on constitutional carry

“You’ve got inflation, you’ve got the economy on people’s minds, you’ve got Russia, you’ve got Ukraine,” said Freeder.

Katie Hathaway with Moms Demand Action said supporting the issue could even work against Republicans in a general election.

A 2015 poll conducted by Every Town found voters overwhelmingly opposed what she argued is more accurately described as ‘permit-less’ carry.

“And 88% of Americans believe that you should have a permit to carry a concealed gun in public,” said Hathaway.

Pat Brigham, President of Prevent Gun Violence Florida, speculated DeSantis’ comments may have been more of a veiled threat to Republican lawmakers rather than an observation of voters’ top priorities.

“It could very well be a message that is: If you want my support during the primaries, you better get in line,” said Brigham.

Whether lawmakers fall in line is yet to be seen.

RELATED: Florida Gov. DeSantis unsure about ‘Constitutional carry’ timing

A constitutional carry bill filed last session never even got a hearing, but DeSantis has indicated he believes there will be enough support once the incoming House Speaker and Senate President take the reins later this year.


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