March 17, 2023

EMAILS: DeSantis wanted to ban weapons at his election party, but avoid the blame

EMAILS: DeSantis wanted to ban weapons at his election party, but avoid the blame

- Advertisement Above -

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is all for permitless, “Constitutional Carry” gun laws in his state…unless, of course, it affects his own life.

That much is obvious after The Washington Post reported that it had obtained emails from the DeSantis 2022 Florida gubernatorial campaign to the city-run Tampa Convention Center — where the victorious governor wanted to hold an election night party — that suggested that the campaign wanted to ban weapons from the venue, but wanted to avoid appearing as if the request came from the governor.

“DeSantis/his campaign will not tell their attendees they are not permitted to carry because of the political optics,” said Chase Finch, the safety and security manager of the convention center, in an Oct. 28 email to other city officials about the request.

The request originated from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which is a state police agency led by an appointee put in place by Governor DeSantis.

The political optics are indeed pretty dismal for Desantis.

The Governor has said that he expects Florida legislators to alter gun regulations in the state to allow Floridians to carry guns without a license.

“Under current law, people who want to carry guns must get concealed-weapons licenses from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,” according to The Tampa Bay Times.

It now appears as if DeSantis’s commitment to an extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment only goes so far as the spaces that he doesn’t currently inhabit.

Sponsored Links

The Tampa Convention Center’s Chase Finch believes that the DeSantis administration wants to shift the blame to the venue for the weapons restrictions because of “Republicans largely being in support of 2A.”

“Basically it sounds like they want us to say it’s our policy to disallow firearms within the event space if anyone asks,” Finch said.

After The Washington Post broke the story about the DeSantis administration’s request, the butt-covering quickly began with a response from the FDLE.

Sponsored Links

“FDLE did not request the venue restrict weapons at the direction of the Governor or campaign. Security decisions are made by FDLE,” Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

In the end, the Tampa Convention Center rejected the entreaty to ban guns at the event, citing Florida laws that allow concealed weapons to be brought inside a public facility unless the organization renting the space insists on banning them.

According to Finch, on the night of the election victory party, the DeSantis campaign did require invitees to go through metal detectors upon entry.

The hypocritical stance on gun rights may cause political problems for DeSantis among many of his extremist right-wing devotees.

“In my thinking, it was a little hypocritical to have this measure in place for law-abiding citizens at a time when a lot of folks in the gun community will condemn a Democratic politician for having a security force,” said Tim Marden, chair of Florida’s Alachua County GOP, who skipped an October fundraiser for DeSantis when he was told he’d have to pass thorugh a metal detector.

The Florida state director of Gun Owners of America, Luis Valdes, was equally critical.

“DeSantis continually pays lip service to the Second Amendment as he positions himself for a nationwide run, and yet what I am seeing as a constituent of his and as a Floridian is that his events are gun-free zones,” Valdes said. “His primary rivals will clean his clock on guns.”

The idea of allowing people to carry weapons without a permit or training requirements seems ludicrous to many Americans given the fact that the nation experienced 39 mass shootings in just the first three weeks of 2023.

Sponsored Links

DeSantis’s efforts to protect himself and his team at his election night victory party prove as much.

His hypocrisy in supporting “Constitutional Carry” legislation demonstrates that his lust for power exceeds his common sense and his ethical standards.

“Constitutional carry — I’ve been in favor of the whole time,” DeSantis said in August. “And so we think we will be able to do that, but that really requires the legislature to get it to my desk. I’m not the issue. I will sign it. That will be an easy thing to do.”

Easy for DeSantis, but not so easy for the eventual shooting victims and their families.

Original reporting by Beth Reinhard at The Washington Post.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.  

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

Sponsored Links