DeSantis backs more abortion restrictions, looser gun law


ORLANDO — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis weighed in on abortion and guns Thursday, signaling he’s ready to sign legislation on those hot-button issues next year but offering no firm details.

DeSantis said he would sign more anti-abortion legislation when asked if he supported a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy.

“I’m willing to sign great life legislation. That’s what I’ve always said I would do,” DeSantis said.

Florida Republicans passed a law earlier this year that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy instead of six as some anti-abortion activists sought. DeSantis hasn’t detailed which additional measures he would favor, and he stayed mostly quiet on the issue during the campaign.

Lawmakers will start their next regular 60-day session in March.

DeSantis also voiced support for so-called “constitutional carry” legislation, which would allow Floridians to carry guns without a permit. Asked about that issue, he turned to the new Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, who reiterated his support for the legislation.

Gun advocates have been pressuring Florida Republicans to act on constitutional carry. Republicans hold a supermajority in the House and Senate.

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has been less enthusiastic about constitutional carry than Renner, telling radio show host Bob Harden in May that she thinks it should be put to a voter referendum.

She said she’s heard from both supporters and those who fear it would hurt tourism.

“It’s such a divisive, such a big issue, and the term ‘constitutional carry’ means put it in the constitution. … Let the voters decide,” Passidomo told Harden.

DeSantis fielded the questions while signing toll-relief legislation at an event in Fort Lauderdale. The new law, passed by lawmakers Wednesday and effective Jan. 1, will provide a 50% discount for heavy users of the toll roads statewide throughout 2023.

 Image Credits: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaks to supporters in Kissimmee before signing a 15-week abortion ban into law on April 14. (John Raoux/AP Photo)