Scott’s, Crist’s Second Amendment credentials examined


Lee’s note: Here’s a great history of the Second Amendment credentials of Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist by the News Service of Florida.



THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, July 9, 2014……Gov. Rick Scott appears nearly bulletproof right now in the eyes of the National Rifle Association.

That assessment of Scott comes as the NRA notes that more pro-gun bills have 2Abeen signed into law in the past four years than during any other recent single gubernatorial term. The organization sent a message to members applauding Scott for setting the record.

Since taking office in 2011, Scott has signed into law 12 gun-related measures backed by the NRA. That total is nine more than former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist approved while enjoying an equally Republican-dominated Legislature between 2007 and 2010. Crist is now running for the Democratic nomination to face Scott in the November elections.

The total number of Scott’s signings remains two fewer than those inked by former Gov. Jeb Bush, who also affixed his name to a one-year record six pro-gun and pro-hunting bills in 2006. A year earlier, Bush had signed the “stand your ground” law. However, Bush’s overall total of 14 new pro-guns laws came during eight years as the occupant of the Governor’s Mansion.

“Governor Scott supports the Second Amendment, and works every day to ensure Florida families are kept safe,” spokesman John Tupps said in an email. “Florida is at a 43-year crime low, and Governor Scott will review any legislation that the Legislature passes and sends to his desk.”

The bills signed by Scott have ranged from the highly contentious, such as the “docs vs. glocks” law in 2011 that has been on hold since being thrown out by a federal judge in 2012, to less controversial laws that reduced the fees for a new concealed carry weapon and allowed tax collectors’ offices handle concealed-weapon license applications.

“The bills that Gov. Scott has signed will make and have made an enormous difference,” said Marion Hammer, the powerful lobbyist for the NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida. “These laws will have major impact on law abiding gun owners.”

She wasn’t as praiseworthy of the more politically flexible Crist, who left office with an “A” rating by the NRA and campaigned in 2010 for the U.S. Senate claiming to have “never wavered in his support for the Second Amendment.”

Crist earned the “profound appreciation” of the NRA in May 2009 for vetoing the Legislature’s plan to sweep $6 million from the Concealed Weapons and Firearms Licensing Trust Fund to patch a hole in the state budget. Crist also won praise when signing legislation to allow concealed weapons permit-holders to keep their guns in their vehicles while at work, and by appointing NRA-supported judges Charles Canady and Ricky Polston to the state Supreme Court.

But Hammer alluded to Crist being less than supportive as “critically important bills” were discussed outside of committee meetings while he was still governor.

“When you’re trying to pass legislation, sometimes legislators will ask (the governor) what they’ll do, and if they’re non-committal, that’s always like a negative,” Hammer said when asked about Crist.

A spokesman for Crist said Wednesday that the former governor maintains his belief in the Second Amendment, but favors “sensible gun safety steps” to keep communities and children safe.

“For example, he believes we should get military-style assault weapons and high-capacity clips off the streets and institute tougher background checks to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands,” Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Crist, responded in an email.

The increase in gun-friendly bills becoming law comes as more Floridians are registered gun owners.

As of May 31, there were 1.27 million concealed-weapon or firearm licenses issued in Florida, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The state went over the 1 million mark in Dec. 2012, becoming the first state in the nation to surpass that figure.

And the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted 869,457 background checks on firearm purchases in 2013. The annual number of checks grew from 406,370 in 2007, when Crist took office, to 606,655 in 2011, Scott’s first year in office. Each check includes an examination of an applicant’s criminal history and mental-health database reviews.

Coconut Creek Democrat Rep. Jim Waldman, a gun owner who has not received glowing scores from the NRA, said the proliferation of pro-gun bills is more about catering to the Republican Party’s “ultra-right” base than sound policy.

“The only way a lot of Republicans get elected is, they need to beef up their bona fides, and one way to do that is to support gun legislation,” Waldman said.

Scott signed five gun-rights bills into law this year, after signing three each in 2011 and 2012. He signed one in 2013.

This year’s offerings would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing rates based on customers owning guns or ammunition. Also, they would allow people to threaten to use force, including showing guns, in self defense. Another new law would prevent schoolchildren from being disciplined for simulating guns while playing or for wearing clothes that depict firearms.

“There were not a lot of contentious bills, they were not all that controversial, there were just some contentious people,” Hammer said.

Besides the opposition to “docs and glocks,” most of the gun related controversy in recent sessions has been through failed efforts by advocates seeking to repeal the 2005 “stand your ground” law, which says people can use deadly force and do not have a duty to retreat if they think it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm

The so-called “warning shot” law approved this year modified “stand your ground” by extending immunity to those who threaten to use force in self-defense.

In addition to “docs vs. glocks,” a law that restricts how doctors can talk to patients about guns, the 2011 laws signed by Scott included another one that continues to be challenged by cities and counties. That bill established $5,000 fines for county and city officials who enforce local firearms restrictions and empowered the governor to remove local officials from office if they continued to defy the state law.

In June, a judge sided with Palm Beach County against the provision that the governor could remove a county official from office for trying to enforce local gun control rules.

Not all of the gun laws have received universal praise from gun-rights advocates.

An NRA-backed measure Scott signed in 2013, crafted in the wake of 20 children and six adults being gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was narrowly-focused on making it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns.

However, the issue put Scott in the crosshairs of two out-of-state groups.

The Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights and the Virginia-based Gun Owners of America argued that the law — which blocks firearms purchases by some people who voluntarily admit themselves for mental-health treatment — would discourage people with mental illnesses from seeking treatment.

In a letter accompanying the bill signing, Scott noted that the measure was the product of mental-health and gun-rights advocates; he also highlighted his history of support for gun rights.

“During the 2012 GOP Convention, I was asked to issue a temporary executive order to override laws that allow people to carry concealed weapons, which I denied because it was unclear how disarming law-abiding citizens would better protect them from the damages and threats posed by those who would flout the law,” Scott wrote. “Additionally, I’ve signed legislation protecting the privacy of firearm owners and stopping local governments from overreaching in the regulation of firearms.”

Involved, invested, or interested in Florida politics? Buy your copy of the Political Almanac of Florida 2014 by Dave Royse today!

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Crist is yer typical mealy-mouthed opportunist turncoat. Florida voters CAN’T be stupid enough to vote for him again.

    Anyone who says he believes in the Second Amendment yet proposes laws that clearly violate its prohibitions is facially a liar.

    The Supreme Court in U.S. v. Miller (1939) held that arms in common use that have some reasonable relationship to militia applications ARE PROTECTED.

    Give this fact, how can this charlatan state that he “believes” in the Second Amendment with a straight face, and expect anyone to “believe” HIM?

  2. “For example, (Crist) believes we should get military-style assault weapons and high-capacity clips off the streets and institute tougher background checks to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands,”
    It shows a low intellect to believe background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands, considering that most criminals buy their weapons from thieves.

    If Crist wants high-capacity magazines and military-style weapons off the street, he should stop issuing them to cops. A fundamental principle of Liberty is that police should be servants of the people and not servants of the people’s masters. As servants of the people, the weapons they use should be chosen from among those that their bosses, the people, are allowed.

  3. James Macklin on

    Laws rarely or never reduce crime and make society safer. All laws do is define crime and set punishments. Criminals don’t worry about violating the law, they don’t expect to be caught The low clearance rate on some crimes indicates that not being captured is very possible.
    Interviews inside prisons report that criminals are not afraid the police will shoot them, rather they fear being shot by an armed victim. The police are well trained on the laws that apply when making an arrest.
    Cops protect society as a whole.
    Unless there is rampant police corruption, district attorneys and other police agencies will give the benefit of the doubt to a police officer.
    But in many States with Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine, such benefit extends to the private citizen. But without written laws that protect the “good guys” who were forced to use force to defend themselves the crime victim of carjacking, rape or murderous assault faces a lynch mentality with demands to arrest the victim of a crime from being victimized by the State. [See George Zimmerman trial.]
    In the States which are anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment are more likely to violate the rights to due process than a State which supports the rights of an individual citizen to be armed for protection. New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, Arizona, Kansas, Alaska, Idaho and Montana not only allow legal residents and visitors to step through some simple steps which allow possession of defensive weapons. In the restrictive States, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, not only restrict firearms, they seek to limit the justifiable use of force for self-defense.
    It is no wonder that violent street crime is more of a problem in the urban centers, the criminal has legal protection of his/her rights if they are ever caught.
    The honest person doesn’t know how to game the system, can’t afford a good defense attorney and is assigned a lawyer who may not believe in the defendants use of force and does not provide a dedicated defense.
    Politicians have been lying to the voters for 224 years. There was a time when voters knew their representatives and understood the ins and outs of government.
    Today the Federal Government is entangled with everything, from $10.00 medical prescription to building billion dollar sports stadiums. The average citizen can’t read the laws because he/she was educated in a government school that teaches people to be good Subjects rather than smart citizens.
    Every year there are thousands of bills filled on hundreds of subjects. Most will never go further than the clerk’s desk. Slick Congressmen will write and sponsor [or co-sponsor] bills that require every state to honor every other state’s concealed weapons law. At the same time they will write a bill that calls for confiscation and destruction of every gun in private possession. There will be a bill to require oil pipelines to be built, airports to be built with plenty of hangar space for hundreds of privately owned airplanes. The other bill will call for banning all General Aviation airplanes from airports with more than 4 scheduled airline flights per day.
    Then when a constituent calls or writes about a topic, they will get back a letter that says “I support your position and have sponsored a bill to do just that, enclosed HB xxxx or S xxxx and Joe Blow Citizens continues to vote for the fraudulent office holder.

  4. Bill Troxell on

    Rick Scott was a butt hole when he had me fired from the FWC for not being a liar or thief at the 3 lakes in holopaw, fl.. He would be a great president for USA. He would fit right in.

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