I write this today not solely as Gun Owner of America’s Florida State Director, I write this as a Floridian who is invested in promoting and advancing freedom and liberty for all.
This is the third year in a row that constitutional carry has been introduced in the Florida legislature and it appears that this might be the third year in a row in which a Republican supermajority refuses to hold themselves to the principles that they claim to represent.
It’s important to know who is fighting hard to advance the cause of liberty. As I say to every group that has hosted me as a speaker, I am one person. I don’t speak for gun owners, I simply try to amplify their voices. We are all in this together. Our national motto is “E Pluribus Unum – Out Of Many, One.” I take that to heart.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee think that constitutional carry is just an idea being pushed by one to two gun rights organizations and has no real public backing. Well, they’re wrong. I wish I could list every organization, group, and business that openly supports the call for constitutional carry in the Sunshine State, but I can’t. There isn’t enough room. But I can show you some of those that truly care.
Right now, there are seven county-level Republican executive committees that have openly called for the passage of constitutional carry.
Tallahassee lawmakers constantly claim that if constitutional carry is passed, the state’s tourism industry will suffer. I find it strange that six of the seven Republican party orgs on the county level that have openly called for the passage of constitutional carry are tourism epicenters.
Bay County and Gulf County are home to the Panama City metro area. You know, the area made famous for Spring Break. Indian River County is home to Vero Beach and St. Johns County is home to St. Augustine, two more major tourist destinations.
Seminole County is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee metro area, home to Disney World and Universal Studios. Manatee County is part of the Tampa Bay metro area, another huge tourist spot and home to the Busch Gardens theme park.
Little Suwanee County is home to Live Oak. It isn’t considered a major tourist spot, but it is part of Rep. Chuck Brannan’s (R) district and right now he’s the one sitting on constitutional carry, keeping it from coming up for a vote. You read that right, the Suwanee Republican committee is openly calling for the passage of constitutional carry and their own representative isn’t listening to them.
These RECs are just the first mind you. More will follow. The more the establishment squeezes the committees in an attempt to silence them, the more liberty-minded Floridians will fight back and demand constitutional carry.
Outside of the RECs, you have other organizations that have put their money where their mouth is.
The Florida Federation of Young Republicans has sent a loud message to Tallahassee. They back constitutional carry. They aren’t an organization that can be laughed off by lawmakers either as they have large numbers and are allied with the College Republicans. They are tired of the crooked games that establishment lawmakers play in the capitol. Gun control has greatly affected them and they want their rights restored and, more importantly, expanded.
The Greater Melrose Republican Liberty Caucus represents Bradford County, Clay County, and Putnam County in the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus. Both the Greater Melrose RLC and the Florida RLC has a whole openly have called for the passage of constitutional carry. The Greater Melrose area covers the counties that stretch from the Gainesville area up to the west side of the St. Augustine area.
The RLC’s goal is to be the moral and political compass of Republican Party of Florida. They work hard at pushing freedom and liberty and making sure that the RPOF and Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee hold to their oaths to uphold liberty and freedom.
The New Tampa Republican Club is a grassroots organization based out of Hillsborough County and they have considerable sway in local and regional politics. Their members are politically active and fired up. They are loud and proud as gun owners and will not allow Tallahassee RINOs to push their rights aside.
Founded in 1967, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and its Florida chapter is becoming the conservative voice for Hispanics and Latinos in the American political arena. For such an organization to openly call for the passage of constitutional carry means a lot. Many of their Florida members are Cuban and Venezuelan, people who have personally suffered under totalitarian dictatorship and gun control. They understand why constitutional carry is truly important.
The Second Amendment Coalition of Florida is based in Palm Beach County. Yes, that Palm Beach County…the bluest of the blue counties in the state.
They are a no-nonsense group of Florida gun owners who are passionate and care about their rights. Many are refugees who fled from New York and New Jersey and they don’t want to see Florida become what their home states are. They are openly calling for the passage of constitutional carry. They know full well what it is to live in a state where a constitutional right it turned into a privilege.
Also, you have the Indian River County Florida 2nd Amendment Defense Coalition. Another local no-nonsense group of Floridians that are proud gun owners and fighting the good fight on the local level.
The Libertarian Party of Florida needs no explanation. They stand for liberty and freedom and have been very vocal in the fight for constitutional carry.
Many businesses have shown support as well.
One such business is Force Pro Arms & Tactical LLC of Eustis, FL. As an FFL, it would make sense to see such a business support constitutional carry. But as a training company, constitutional carry would take a bite of their bottom line. Or so you would think.
They know and understand that if more people have legal access to firearms, many of those people will seek training. For that, they deserve recognition because, as we saw in Texas, some instructors don’t want constitutional carry because they believe it will hurt their business.
Again our national motto is “E Pluribus Unum – Out Of Many, One.” I hold that motto dear and near to my heart. Because together, we will make Florida free. As GOA’s Florida State Director and a Floridian, I’m proud to work with such organizations and other gun rights groups.
This is a long hard fight against what has become an authoritarian establishment that wishes to keep Florida in the back of the line when it comes to its citizens’ gun rights. It’s time for Floridians to rise up and let their voices be heard.
Luis Valdes is the Florida Director for Gun Owners of America.