The date has finally been set for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to officially enter the 2024 presidential race. Republican insiders have told multiple sources that DeSantis will file paperwork to declare his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) next week. The announcement and paperwork will allow the governor to actively seek campaign donations. Reports reveal that DeSantis will look to outflank Trump by running to the right of him on key issues like immigration, gun rights, and abortion.
According to CNN:
Trump in New Hampshire also defended his decision as president to unilaterally ban bump stocks, an attachment that enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire sustained bursts of ammunition. Trump deflected a question from a member of the audience about his Second Amendment bona fides by suggesting the National Rifle Association had also supported the ban. The NRA did not return a request for comment.
Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis’ political aspirations, pounced on the answer. The organization characterized Trump’s modest gun safety measure on Twitter as “gun control” and posted a video of the former president seeming to embrace other restrictions on firearms like red flag laws, which allow courts to intervene and remove firearms from people determined by law enforcement to be a threat to themselves or others.
DeSantis, meanwhile, urged lawmakers to lift one of the few restrictions on guns in Florida, a requirement for someone to obtain a permit and training before carrying a concealed gun in public. He said he would go further by allowing the open carry of firearms in public – a step too far for even Republican lawmakers in his state despite persistent lobbying from gun advocates. DeSantis has also said he opposes the bipartisan legislation passed in Florida in the aftermath of the Parkland high school mass shooting that established the state’s red flag law and raised the age to own a rifle to 21.
After he signed the bill to end concealed carry permits, DeSantis said he would “come back for more some time in the future.” Aidan Johnston, the director of federal affairs for the Gun Owners of America, said many people in his organization have mixed feelings about the Trump years. Though he didn’t say if the organization would endorse DeSantis, Johnston said, the Florida governor “has demonstrated that he understands the Second Amendment by his words and his actions.”
Governor Ron DeSantis, a widely popular conservative leader who has served two terms in Florida, has displayed clear indications of gearing up for a potential presidential campaign. These signs include severing ties with his long-standing political state committee and expanding his political team in Tallahassee. Despite winning his reelection campaign against Charlie Crist in 2022, it was widely acknowledged that DeSantis might not complete his full four-year term as governor. Many Floridians were content with electing DeSantis for a two-year term, with the expectation that he would then pursue the Presidency in 2024.