Darren Soto gets gun-control congressman's endorsement - Florida Politics

Darren Soto gets gun-control congressman’s endorsement

Democratic State Sen. Darren Soto‘s relatively newfound commitment to gun control has won him another endorsement for his U.S. Congress election bid from a member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut.

Himes, whose district is near but does not include Newtown, Connecticut, home of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, made news last week when he protested the House’s moment of silence after the Orlando Pulse gay nightclub massacre, because, as he said, it was time for Congress to stop being silent.

Around the same time Soto, running in Florida’s Orlando-based 9th Congressional District, was leading an Orlando Democratic legislative caucus’ call for a special session of the Florida Legislature to talk about gun control.

Soto is in a tough primary battle in the Aug. 30 CD 9 Democratic primary with Dena Grayson, Susannah Randolph and Valleri Crabtree.

Soto has adopted significant gun-control positions in the past year as a member of the Florida Senate, helping lead opposition to two failed measures. One that would have allowed open-carry of firearms in Florida, and the other would have allowed students to have guns on campus. However, prior to that his record on gun rights versus gun control had earned him an A rating from the National Rifle Association, the highest among Florida Senate Democrats. Last week he objected to that characterization, arguing it was based on little data and now his rating has fallen to a C.

He got an A in gun control in Himes’ book.

“Just over one week ago, Orlando experienced the most horrific tragedy on U.S. soil since Sept. 11. We were all stunned and wanted badly to prevent this from ever happening again,” Himes stated in a news release. “Your state senator, Darren Soto, answered that call by pushing for a special session to change Florida’s gun laws. Darren is a leader. He’s someone who I am proud to endorse and look forward to working with in Congress.”

Last week Himes walked off the House of Representatives floor during a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting. Congressman Himes, who is pushing for stricter gun laws, said the moment of silence was perfectly emblematic of congressional gross negligence on gun reform.

“Democrats across our country are sickened by these mass shootings and want to make a change,” stated Sen. Soto. “Last week, I made a push to keep guns out of the hands of those on the no-fly lists and the FBI terrorist watch lists. This is about commonsense gun reform. I look forward to working Jim Himes in Congress to make tragedies like the Pulse shooting a thing of the past.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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