Gun owners are still reeling from the sudden defection of Sen. Anitere Flores, whose five minute anti-gun rant — during which she pledged to fight against gun rights — left everyone speechless and searching for answers.
After all, why would the powerful Miami Republican — the Senate President Pro Tempore — who had a 100 percent voting record with NRA suddenly flip and imperil the dozen or so pro-gun bills awaiting action in the Senate.
Well, Flores told the News Service of Florida it was the attack on the Pulse nightclub that made her change her mind about gun rights, and that “no one should be surprised by her stance.”
“I think to say that it came as a surprise to the NRA — I’m surprised they’re surprised,” she said during an online interview.
So, if you take Sen. Flores at her word, it was the June 12 terrorist attack that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more that made her switch camps.
Well, that doesn’t quite jibe with the facts.
On July 6 — more than three weeks after the attack — Flores sent a gushing letter to Marion Hammer, past president of the NRA, a current board member and executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida.
Nowhere in the letter does Flores mention the terrorist attack or her newfound anti-gun stance. In fact, her letter indicates quite the opposite.
“I have always been and will continue to be a fierce defender of our constitutional rights,” Flores wrote. “The Second Amendment, in particular, guarantees a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms that government has no right to infringe upon. During my years in public service, my record shows that I have acted in accordance with these beliefs and values.”
Flores sent the letter in lieu of completing one of the candidate surveys, which Hammer sends out every year.
“Your survey covers many issues and topics that I have addressed over my ten years in the Florida legislature,” Flores wrote. “I encourage you to review my record, as it is the best reflection of my position on each of these policy items.”
Well, consider me one of the surprised.
I think the real reason the Senator flipped has yet to come out.
I’m told she’s considering a run for Miami mayor, and that she’s also interested in becoming Florida’s next CFO.
Both positions require honesty and candor and, quite frankly, I’m not seeing much of that.
A personal appeal
I was recently told that Sen. Flores has been receiving threats. This is unacceptable and needs to stop. Not only is it extremely counterproductive, it’s also a crime — one that’s investigated by Capitol Police.
I understand the anger and discontent Sen. Flores has caused among our community by forsaking her oath of office and defying the will of the people, but there are better and more effective ways to express outrage and displeasure.
In my humble opinion, if you really want to get your point across to a lawmaker, send them a letter — the paper, envelope and stamp kind.
A lawmaker and their staff — especially at the state level — are inundated by calls and emails, especially when there’s a contentious issue at stake. They’re counted, grouped into for and against categories, but not always read.
Letters get read.
They’re hard to ignore, and they don’t come with a delete key.
Senator Anitere Flores
404 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100