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Lawmakers on gun control, rights, gun violence

Second Amendment


In the wake of massacres in Parkland, Orlando, Uvalde, Buffalo, Sandy Hook, and on and on, public pressure is building on Congress to enact laws to stem gun violence. Where do our U.S. Senators and Representatives from Florida stand?

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R)

“The NBA doesn’t like to talk about the billions they make from a China that enslaves Uyghur Muslims and harvests their organs. But they have no problem politicizing a horrific tragedy in America,” (Tweet on Miami Heat’s urging fans to call their senators for gun reform.)

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‘Our lives are on the ballot’: March for Our Lives Parkland rally calls for gun law reform

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R)

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R)

“We will oppose every attempt to deny our Second Amendment freedoms and will defend our gun rights always, at all costs.”

After the Parkland high school massacre, then-Gov. Scott signed laws to raise the gun ownership age limit to 18 and to authorize officials to “red flag” individuals thought to be too dangerous to have guns. Will he support similar laws at the federal level? No word.

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U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-New Port Richey)

Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Dist. 12)

“There is simply no evidence that encroaching on the rights of law-abiding citizens would have any corresponding decrease in violent crime.”

Has supported legislation to loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases and ease carrying of concealed weapons across state borders.

Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key)

Vern Buchanan (R-Dist. 16)

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Joined with Democrats and a small group of Republicans to support universal background check legislation in 2019.

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Kat Cammack (R-Orange Park)

Kat Cammack (R-Dist. 3)

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“I will always uphold and defend our Second Amendment rights. As a concealed carry permit holder and the wife to a first responder, I am adamant about protecting this most basic American right. This issue is personal to me and my family.”

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Kathy Castor (D-Tampa)

Kathy Castor (D-Dist. 14)

Helped lead colleagues in passing the Bipartisan Background Check Act.  Supported the Enhanced Background Checks Act, to close the “Charleston loophole” after the South Carolina gunman in 2015 was able to purchase weapons after a 3-day federal background check ran out of time to turn up a prior conviction. She is cosponsoring bills to reinstate the ban on military-style assault weapons.

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar)

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Dist. 20)

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“We need courage. We need action. This must change. #EndGunViolence.”

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Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg)

Charlie Crist (D-Dist. 13)

(From Floridapolitics.com) “For once and for all, require background checks for private gun sales….We need to ban the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines for assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols. Is there any legitimate reason to have a 30-round magazine for recreational shooting or home defense? There’s not.”

Val Demings (D-Orlando)

Val Demings (D-Dist. 10)

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(Former Orlando police chief and current candidate for U.S. Senate) Senate should consider background check law and “red flag” laws. 

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Theodore “Ted” Deutch (D-Boca Raton)

Theodore E. Deutch (D-Dist. 22)

“The Senate should pass the background check bill. Right now….And we should pass the EAGLES Act, a bill presented by Parkland parent Tony Montalto and his group Stand with Parkland…. And we should pass the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, a bill presented by Parkland parent Max Schachter and his group Safe Schools for Alex….And Jaime’s Law, presented by Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg in memory of his daughter. It will make it harder for dangerous people to acquire ammunition to carry out these acts.”

Mario Diaz Balart (R-Doral)

Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Dist. 25)

Supported bipartisan gun safety legislation in 2021 to require federal authorities to alert state and local law enforcement within 24 hours when an ineligible individual lies on a background check and tries to purchase a firearm. Has voted for some background check bills but against others and supported conceal carry legislation.

Byron Donalds (R-Naples)

Byron Donalds (R-Dist. 19)

“The Second Amendment, your right to bears arms, is just as important as the rest of the Bill of Rights….I proudly stood against Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature when they infringed upon our rights as Americans and passed gun control into state law. “Shall not be infringed,” means “Shall not be infringed!”

Neal Dunn (R-2)

Neal Dunn (R-Dist. 2)

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“Instead of strengthening and enforcing existing laws, Speaker Pelosi’s Democrats are instead seeking to make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners.”

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Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach)

Lois Frankel (D-Dist. 21)

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“Our children deserve to feel safe at school, not fear for their lives. We must do more to stop this unthinkable violence. We should also ban ghost guns. And pass red flag laws. And stop the sale of high-capacity magazines.”

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Scott Franklin (R-Lakeland)

Scott Franklin (R-Dist. 15)

“As a gun owner and defender of the Constitution, I strongly believe in Americans’ right to own firearms. I will fight for, and defend, your Second Amendment rights as well as the entire Bill of Rights.”

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Matt Gaetz (R-Dist. 1)

Matt Gaetz (R-Dist. 1)

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“President Biden is committed to dismantling the Second Amendment like we have never seen before.” — 2021 op-ed in Guns & Ammo.

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Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami)

Carlos Gimenez (R-Dist. 26)

Gimenez voted yes on Background Check Expansion Act and Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which established background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals).

Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.

Alfred Lawson (D-5)

Alfred Lawson (D-Dist. 5)

“My 0% voter rating with the NRA proves that I am serious about reforming gun laws to protect our families. That is why I opposed Florida’s Firearm Preemption Law and instead support allowing local officials to tailor gun laws to the needs of their community.”

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Brian Mast (R-Port St. Lucie)

Brian Mast (R-Dist. 18)

Opposed Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, saying Democrats radically altered past background legislation he had supported, to restrict access to firearms. “The far-left has attempted to undermine the Second Amendment and intimidate law abiding gun owners out of exercising their Constitutional rights. 

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Stephanie Murphy (D-Winter Park)

Stephanie Murphy (D-Dist. 7)

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Led effort to lift the effective ban on federally sponsored gun violence research in 2018 and later helped secure funding.

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Bill Posey (R-Rockledge)

Bill Posey (R-Dist. 8)

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Voted against background checks in 2019 and 2021.

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John Rutherford (R-4)

John Ruthorford (R-Dist. 4)

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“The focus should not be on the guns; the focus should be on the individual that’s pulling the trigger. And we need to  find out who those people are.”

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Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Miami)

Maria Elvira Salazar (R-27)

Voted for Background Check Expansion Act and Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.

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Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee)

Darren Soto, (D-Dist. 9)

Supports universal background checks for all gun purchases, keeping guns from those who are a danger to themselves or others; banning assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump stocks; creating a “red-flag” system to issue gun restraining orders; No Fly, No Buy – banning guns for those on FBI terror watch list (with judicial review).

Greg Steube (R-Lake Placid)

Greg Steube (R-Dist. 17)

Steube criticized President Joe Biden’s recent comments urging tighter gun measures. 

“Don’t let them fool you that they’re not attempting to take away your ability to purchase handguns,” Steube said. “They are using the magazine ban to do it.”

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Michael Waltz (R-6)

Michael Waltz (R-Dist. 6)

(First Green Beret to serve in Congress) From Newsmax interview:

“There are really deep societal issues that we have to address…and there’s not some magic solution in Washington, D.C…. We need communities, families, municipalities, we need people to come together and really try to figure out what the heck is going on. “

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Sunrise)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Dist. 23)

We should start by closing all the background check loopholes that allow dangerous people to evade the law and purchase deadly firearms. It requires more than a gun to take an innocent life; it also takes bullets. We need to do everything we can to keep both out of the wrong hands. We must also push to get weapons of war off our streets. That means banning the sale of assault weapons and firearms with high capacity magazines. Finally, we need to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the authority and funding to study the gun violence epidemic as a public health crisis.

Daniel Webster (R-Leesburg)

Daniel Webster (R-Dist. 11)

“I will vigorously oppose any attempt by the Biden Administration…to subvert the plain language of the law and further infringe on law-abiding American’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” (In response to Biden executive actions on guns in 2021.)

Frederica S. Wilson (D-Hollywood)

Frederica S. Wilson (D-Dist. 24)

Voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which she co-sponsored.

“These commonsense gun violence prevention measures will require background checks on all gun sales and close the Charleston Loophole that allowed the hate crime at Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015.” 

Illustration by Hannah Lauritzen/USA Today Network; with photos by Getty Images, Associated Press and Austin-American Statesman.

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