Ron DeSantis calls Parkland massacre a failure of FBI, sheriff; denounces state gun proposals – Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis calls Parkland massacre a failure of FBI, sheriff; denounces state gun proposals

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis on Thursday denounced Florida Legislature efforts to tighten gun restrictions and said the mass shooting two weeks ago at the Parkland high school should be seen as “a catastrophic failure” by the Broward County sheriff and the FBI.

DeSantis, a congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, has made similar comments in television appearances on Fox News in the past two weeks, but otherwise has been largely silent within Florida about his response to the massacre, drawing heat from other gubernatorial candidates, particularly Democrats. On Thursday he broke that, taking a hard line against any gun measures, and condemning those being considered now in the Florida Legislature.

He also called for the resignation of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for not having responded to numerous reports, prior to the Feb. 14 mass shooting, that suggested Nikolas Cruz was dangerous; and for the firing of anyone in the FBI who might have failed to pick up in advance on the shooter’s intentions.

And while DeSantis called on the Florida Legislature to back off proposed gun restrictions, presumably such as one to raise the minimum age for firearms purchases to 21, he was not specific in his statement.

DeSantis said he supported much in Gov. Rick Scott‘s proposed school safety package to “harden schools” and also supports one idea Scott rejected: arming teachers. He also said the state should enlist the help of veterans and law enforcement officers to help protect schools.

DeSantis faces Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow in the contest for the Aug. 28 Florida primary nomination to run for Governor. The leading Democrats are former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Winter Park developer Chris King, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, DeSantis contended, was the result of law enforcement failures and mental illness, and should be addressed as such.

“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,” DeSantis said in his statement.

“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,” DeSantis continued.

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


  1. This city, this state, this nation…..all are founded, survive, and prosper because the collective foundation being laws. Laws must be enforced, however. In the case of a driver who is drunk (or stoned) that kills another or some lunatic who goes about slashing people to death, to we hold the instrument accountable?? No. The fact here is that the laws of this land were not enforced…..early on. The Statement of Understanding between the Broward Sheriff’s Department and the Broward County School Board to overlook the violent acts of students to reduce the highest rate of school arrests in the nation during the Obama years to make him and his destructive progressive agenda look good are what caused this horrific event. There are bad people out there….this person being one. It was known. Laws are made to protect us from bad people. How many times were the police and the school authorities made aware of this fact??? 39 is the low count, 45 is the high. If it were small fraction of that, the Sheriff and the School Board are culpable….turned their back on the law of the land and protecting the people they serve. So…your answer to this situation is to make more laws…which weren’t followed when a church in Texas was shot up by a man drummed out of the Air Force and whose record was marked to prevent him from buying guns…and was not passed to law enforcement officials. What do we have here? Answer: The failure of law enforcement officials in the carrying out of their expressed responsibilities….being used to limit the rights of the most-law abiding segment of American society. What we need to do is hold those officials in law enforcement and on the school board accountable (jail time)….they are the culprits here. Ron DeSantis is correct and has the moral backbone to stand up for the rights of all Americans. He has my vote!

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