Congressman Ron DeSantis, who is running in the Republican primary for Governor against Marco Rubio-allied House Speaker Richard Corcoran, criticized the state legislature’s gun control push.
Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that was pushed for by Corcoran. The bill enacts school safety measures by allowing for more armed school personnel, but also imposes some new gun control measures including a bump stock ban, a three-day waiting period to purchase rifles, and expanded mental health background checks.
Scott’s hands were tied because Corcoran pushed through a “package” legislation that lumped school safety measures in with the gun control policies. If Republicans had only gone for school safety, the measure would have passed easily. But now Republicans are responsible for bringing new gun control reforms to the Florida law books.
DeSantis released a statement last week while the bill was being drafted, which has not been widely publicized, but which DeSantis’ campaign directed Big League Politics to Friday as the bill was being signed.
To astute political observers, this statement allows DeSantis to run on a pro-gun platform while associating his opponent Corcoran with the new gun control regulations.
DeSantis stated (emphasis added):
“The tragedy in Parkland represented a catastrophic failure by the Broward County Sheriff’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have been clear that the FBI needs to provide full transparency to Congress and the personnel responsible for the failure need to be terminated. I also support the immediate resignation of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel as well as Governor Scott’s call for an independent investigation of the entire department.”
“Parkland demonstrated the need to provide adequate security at Florida’s schools. I support Governor Scott’s initiative to improve safety and harden these schools. While I don’t think any teacher or administrator should be required to carry a firearm, I believe that those who possess a concealed carry license and are so inclined should not be barred from doing so on campus. What is more, I think it’s important to establish a program so that we can enlist the help of retired military and law enforcement personnel to ensure that our students are safe while they learn.”
“The issue of mental illness has been a recurring theme among mass shooters in recent years and we need more tools with which to deal with this stubborn fact. Anyone who is a danger to themselves or to society should not be permitted to wreak havoc in our communities, be it with a firearm or via other means.”
“Given that the issues of bureaucratic incompetence, school safety and mental health demand immediate attention, I’m disappointed that the Florida Legislature is rushing to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens. When dealing with a right that is specifically enumerated in the Constitution, blanket restrictions that diminish individual rights are suspect. Better to focus on denying firearms to dangerous individuals, which avoids infringing on constitutional rights and is also more likely to be effective. The goal should be to keep our students safe, bring accountability to the officials and institutions that failed, and protect the rights of Floridians.”