By Lee Williams
Late last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a formal proclamation calling the legislature back to Tallahassee for a special session. As of today, constitutional carry is not scheduled to be heard.
Florida law is very specific about what can and cannot be considered during a special session. It’s not a free-for-all where a wide range of topics can be discussed or debated. DeSantis called lawmakers back specifically to redo a redistricting map. Officially, that’s it.
His proclamation states: “The Legislature of the State of Florida in session for the sole and exclusive purpose of considering legislation relating to the establishment of congressional districts for the State of Florida and any legal challenges thereto, including the appropriation of additional funding for pending and prospective redistricting litigation.”
However, during a press conference the same day, DeSantis said he would consider other topics.
“I would love to have property insurance, I would love to have data privacy, I would love to have constitutional carry,” DeSantis said. “I will ask the legislative leaders, ‘Is there something that you can get across the finish line?’ And I will encourage them to do that.”
Almost immediately, the hearts of every Florida gun owner skipped a beat.
While constitutional carry is not scheduled for the special session, there are several ways to get a bill before the lawmakers.
Article III, Section 2 (c)(1) of the Florida Constitution states: “The governor, by proclamation stating the purpose, may convene the legislature in special session during which only such legislative business may be transacted as is within the purview of the proclamation, or of a communication from the governor, or is introduced by consent of two-thirds of the membership of each house.”
In other words, there are three options that could produce a constitutional carry bill:
Option 1: DeSantis could issue a “communication from the governor.” This would require DeSantis to send a formal message to House and Senate leadership, telling them to consider constitutional carry during the special session.
Option 2: Two thirds of the House and Senate could vote to hear a constitutional carry bill. This is highly unlikely since the Republicans do not have a super-majority in either chamber. There are 24 Republicans and 16 Democrats in the Senate. We would need three Democrats and every Republican to vote in favor of considering a constitutional carry bill. There are 77 Republicans and 42 Democrats in the House. We would need three Democrats and every Republican to support hearing a constitutional carry bill.
Option 3: After the special session ends, DeSantis could issue another proclamation calling the legislature back for another special session for the “sole and exclusive purpose” of considering constitutional carry.
Florida’s special session is scheduled to begin April 19. Stay tuned.