Lakeland mass shooting highlights Ron DeSantis’ gun views

The Florida state legislature on Monday introduced a bill that would allow citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a license, the same day 10 people were injured in a drive-by shooting in Lakeland, Florida .

The proposed firearms licensing bill, introduced by Florida House Speaker and Republican Paul Renner and endorsed by the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA), is also referred to as a “constitutional carry” bill. by his supporters, and was a long-promised initiative by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to a report by the Tallahassee Democrat.

If the bill passes the GOP-controlled legislature, Florida would become the 26th state to allow concealed carry without a license.

The bill was introduced just hours before four people opened fire and injured 10 in a drive-by shooting in Lakeland, Florida, according to the Lakeland Police Department. Police Chief Sammy Taylor told reporters at a Monday night press briefing that all of the victims were men between the ages of 20 and 35, two of whom were receiving treatment in hospital for serious injuries.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 19, 2022. Inset, a sign is held by a gun control advocate on fire during the March for Our Lives rally in Parkland, Fla., on June 11, 2022. DeSantis was grilled on Monday for supporting unlicensed transportation after a mass shooting in Lakeland, Fla. that left 10 people injured.
Wade Vandervort/AFP via Getty; Joe Raedle/Getty

Democrats and advocates revived calls for increased gun control Monday night in light of the mass shootings, pointing the finger at DeSantis for wanting to expand gun rights.

“A mass shooting in Lakeland, Florida injured 10,” the New York rep wrote. Ritchie Torres on Twitter. “Yet Ron DeSantis wants people to carry firearms freely without a license, which will drive even more guns into the hands of even more mass shooters.”

David Hoeggfounder of the youth-led March for Our Lives movement, also tweeted about the Lakeland shooting, writing, “Maybe we’re not weakening gun laws by passing carry without a license in Florida. . Just a thought.”

Journalist Brian Krassenstein noted in his tweet on Monday night that Florida’s gun licensing bill was also introduced just over two weeks before the fifth anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida , where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and injured 17 others.

“DeSantis is pathetic!” Krassenstein added.

Florida’s governor has long promised to pass a constitutional bill in his state, telling reporters at a press conference in May 2022, “I can tell you before I’m done as governor, we will have a signature on this bill,” reported the Democrat.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has also advocated for a license-free concealed carry bill, tweeting in November 2022, “Florida should be a constitutional carry state!” At the time, Gaetz received criticism from gun control lawyer Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jamie in the 2018 Parkland shootings.

Guttenberg reiterated his criticism of the unlicensed transport bill on Monday, Tweeter next to a link to an ABC News article about the Lakeland shooting: “THIS IS NOT FREEDOM”.

At a press conference on Monday, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, FSA Chairman, defended the unlicensed transportation bill when asked how law enforcement might know whether citizens with criminal histories had access to firearms without needing a license.

“We know someone is a criminal when they commit a criminal act,” Nienhuis said, according to an excerpt from the press briefing posted to Twitter by the gun advocacy group. Gifford.

“Whether they have a license or not, whether they are criminals or not, these two things are not mutually exclusive,” Nienhuis added.

Newsweek contacted DeSantis’ office for comment.


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