Fact Check: Gov. Newsom Claims Gov. DeSantis Made it Easier for Felons to Acquire Guns

CLAIM: During Thursday night’s FOX News debate, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) claimed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) support of constitutional carry made it easier for felons to acquire guns in Florida.


As part of the exchange moderated by Sean Hannity, Newsom referenced the February 14, 2018, Parkland high school shooting and criticized DeSantis’s reaction to that shooting.

Newsom claimed DeSantis “made it easier for felons to get guns, without background checks [and] without any training.”

A couple of points: First, DeSantis was not the governor of Florida when the Parkland shooting occurred.

That governor at time was Rick Scott (R), and he responded to Parkland by signing new gun controls into law; gun controls which included a waiting period for long gun purchases and a red flag law.

In this March 9, 2018 file photo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act in the governor’s office at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Three weeks of pressure from relatives and students slain in the in the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, school massacre provided momentum for the legislation. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File)

Secondly, when DeSantis signed constitutional carry into law in April of this year it did not change policy toward felons and firearms.

It remains a federal offense for felons to possess firearms and it is illegal, per state law, for them to possess guns even with constitutional carry in place. (Constitutional carry means people who are legally able to possess guns may carry those guns for self-defense without going through a government permitting process.)

Newsom’s claim DeSantis made it easier for felons to acquire guns is false.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and he holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.

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