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Campaigning: Democrats blast GOP after assault weapons ban fails

The politics of guns in Florida has rapidly changed since the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland.

Two Senate Republicans up for re-election this fall were hammered by their Democratic opponents Monday night following a Senate committee vote defeating a Democratic amendment to ban semi-automatic rifles.

Tampa attorney Bob Buesing has vowed to be more aggressive in taking the case to Senate District 18 Republican Dana Young. He attacked her following Monday’s vote by the Senate Rules Committee—which, by the way, Young does not serve on.

“In the twelve days since the horrific mass shooting unfolded in Parkland, Dana Young has done nothing, and her silence is deafening,” Buesing said in a statement. “An A-rated NRA politician herself, she would rather appease our state’s gun lobby than take action to protect its schoolchildren.”

Young spokesperson Sarah Bascom responded on Tuesday.

“Senator Dana Young does not sit on the Rules Committee and, therefore, has not had an opportunity to weigh in,” she said. “Bob Buesing is sadly making this tragedy a political issue, and it’s quite frankly disgusting that he is focused on political press releases right now.”

Gainesville Republican Keith Perry does sit on the committee, which voted down Miami Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez‘s amendment on banning assault weapons.

Dr. Kayser Enneking, one of the Democrats running to oppose him in Senate District 8 this fall, said afterward that Perry had “failed our community” by voting down measures banning assault weapons and bump stocks.

“As a parent, I am sick knowing that the door is left open for weapons of mass lethality to continue to threaten our children and communities,” he said. “As a doctor, I am horrified that Sen. Perry voted to allow the continued sale of weapons that are designed to leave no hope of survival.”

Since serving in the Legislature beginning in 2011, the Gainesville Republican has voted in support of 10 of 11 gun-related bills, according to the Gainesville Sun.

There are at least five Parkland-related bills set for consideration before the House and Senate appropriations committees Tuesday.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

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