Gov. DeSantis: ‘Leftists’ view ‘law-abiding citizens,’ Second Amendment as target of gun control
Image via AP.

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Democrats hoped to bring Republicans to the table. So much for that dream.

With Florida’s Democratic lawmakers demanding a Special Session on gun control, Gov. Ron DeSantis says Democrats are coming after the Second Amendment.

Rep. Joe Geller, the Aventura Democrat who began the call for a new Special Session, says their proposed topics were supposed to draw the Republican majority to the table following last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. But in answering a reporter’s question on Wednesday when explaining Democrats’ outline, the Republican Governor spurned Democrats’ proposals, likely damning the longshot effort.

“With all due respect to these leftists, they just want to come after your Second Amendment rights,” DeSantis said. “Let’s just be honest, that’s what they want to do. They don’t want you — they view you, as a law-abiding citizen, as the target of what they’re trying to do. How can they, on the one hand, say they’re serious about this when they support these people who let all the criminals out of prison and they don’t prosecute people?”

Speaking with Florida Politics Wednesday afternoon, Geller called it a stretch to deem DeSantis’ comments a “response” to their Special Session request. Furthermore, he called the Governor’s comments disingenuous.

“These leftists? Nothing in our proposal would take a gun away from anybody who has one,” Geller said. “We’re trying to control who gets one, and we’re trying to make sure that people who have been clearly dangerous have a red flag.”

Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, whose district includes Pulse nightclub, where a shooter killed 49 and wounded 53 others in 2016, told Florida Politics the Special Session request is a modest one. DeSantis likes to cause chaos and throw insults instead of solving problems, she continued.

“For the Governor to try to pivot and say this is about leftists taking away firearms, it’s just not true,” Eskamani said. “Nothing in this Special Session order would take away anyone’s firearm.”

Special Sessions are limited to the topics originally outlined for the Session, except when approved by the Governor or by two-thirds support of both chambers. Geller’s Special Session call is limited to regulating high-capacity rifle magazines, mandating universal background checks and expanding red flag laws.

While Geller on Tuesday told reporters he personally supports an assault weapons ban, he said his Special Session call is tailored to include “commonsense” legislation supported by the majority of Floridians and Americans and that potentially has bipartisan support.

After a requisite 20% of lawmakers indicated initial support for a Special Session, the Department of State began polling all members of the Legislature on Monday. Three-fifths of each chamber must vote “yes” by 3 p.m. Friday to compel the Legislature to a Special Session.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the tally stood at 13-5 in favor in the Senate and 39-5 in favor in the House. However, only 10 Republicans had voted, and all 10 voted “no.”

“Honestly, it seems like right now Republicans are really trying to ignore it as much as possible,” Eskamani said. “They’re putting their head in the sand, which is really disappointing.”

Geller is surprised it hasn’t picked up any Republican support, he added.

“I wrote it for them. Please help, guys,” Geller said.

The current red flag law, passed in the wake of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, has become a national model adopted by other states. Florida’s Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are advocating for the legislation at the federal level. Rubio has repeatedly filed the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act since 2018, doing so most recently in 2021.

“Is Senator Rubio a leftist who wants to come after the Second Amendment?” Orlando Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith asked Florida Politics.

As Florida Democratic lawmakers held a news conference to promote the Special Session on Tuesday, actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey gave an impassioned plea for gun reform during a White House news briefing. He shared stories of the 19 students who, along with two teachers, were killed at Robb Elementary School two weeks ago. Seventeen others were shot in the massacre.

Earlier in May in Buffalo, 10 Black people were killed at a supermarket during an attack livestreamed by the shooter. Three others were injured.

Sunday will mark six years since the Pulse shooting.

If successful, the gun violence Special Session would be the third this year and the fifth this term. The previous Special Sessions — with topics including redistrictingDisney and property insurance — have been called at DeSantis’ behest.

DeSantis, who has said he would not have signed the post-Parkland bill like Scott did when he was Governor, has advocated for constitutional carry legislation in recent months. Such a law would remove the need for Floridians to acquire a permit to carry an open or concealed firearm.

On Friday, in his first comments about gun violence following the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings DeSantis said law enforcement must be held accountable, noting reports that officers stood by at Robb Elementary while the shooting was underway. He also expressed his plan to follow recommendations from the MSD High School Public Safety Commission, which he carried out by signing legislation earlier Tuesday to update the MSD High School Public Safety Act.

However, DeSantis has not mentioned his constitutional carry proposal since the recent shootings.

“I’m not surprised that he would lie and be a demagogue about the issue of gun violence prevention, and I’m not surprised that he’s dodging questions about his extreme proposal for permitless carry,” Smith said. “It’s par for the course.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


12 comments

  • Dream On

    June 8, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    “Democrats hoped to bring Republicans to the table. So much for that dream.”
    No, Democrats hoped to throw Republicans under the bus, just like they are going to try to do tomorrow night.

    • Other kid

      June 8, 2022 at 5:00 pm

      Bus? No.
      Some guys going to parkland your kids. Again That’s what going to happen. At least you will still have your gun lol

      • Based Desantis Supporter

        June 8, 2022 at 5:13 pm

        I mean the republicans enacted red flag laws after parkland, which is a step more than the US Congress has ever been able to accomplish. But hey you couldn’t care less about the truth. You libs lie with impunity at every opportunity. That’s why you havnt won any position of importance at the state level in a long time

        • Different day

          June 9, 2022 at 4:38 am

          After 30 more parklands the truth will be the same and you cons will still be putting dirt on top of your kids lol

  • SteveHC

    June 8, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    With “all due respect” to the incredibly low-class, forever self-aggrandizing DeSantis, he simply does not care who nor how many people get shot and killed so long as he remains Governor of Florida or otherwise in power. This has NOTHING to do with “leftists” and NOBODY is looking to do away with 2nd ammendment rights. This guy is simply disgusting.

  • TJC

    June 8, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    “Let’s just be honest…” says DeSantis. And as when listening to any huckster salesman, when they get to the “Let me be honest with you” and “I’m not gonna lie” lines, that’s the time to walk away. DeSantis at this point in his stardom could not be honest about gun violence if he tried.
    He can offer vague arguments to incite fear, like, “…they view you, as a law-abiding citizen, as the target of what they’re trying to do,” crassly using the term “target” in a rant against efforts to stop gun violence.
    He dismisses compassion to create the illusion of a tough guy, when in fact he is a little man in love with power and himself.

  • Ocean Joe

    June 8, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    In 2020 the Florida Supreme court knocked a proposed constitutional amendment to ban assault weapons off the ballot.
    https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2020/06/04/assault-weapons-ban-in-florida-quashed-by-state-supreme-court/
    The court found the summary of the bill (which would appear on the ballot) inconsistent with the actual text of the bill.
    Refine this, put an assault weapons ban on the ballot, let the voters decide, since the legislature will not even consider it.

  • JeffD

    June 8, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    But he’s correct – there is NO compromise with the Democrats – they are trying to remove or “limit” a Constitutional Right.

    What part of “Shall not be infringed” so you not understand?

  • Based Desantis Supporter

    June 8, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    ITT: Libs seething that they are too irrelevant to accomplish anything here in Florida. We already enacted red flag laws here in Florida. We have done our part. Here’s an interesting question tho. Why are dems so gung ho about disarming law abiding citizens, while at the same time dems believe we are too hard on criminals? Why do dems ALWAYS prioritize the rights of criminal scumbags over the rights of law abiding productive citizens? The average Floridian intuitively grasps this. That’s why dems are completely unable to succeed here. Looks like the average American is waking up to
    This truth as well, based on polling (presidential approval and generic ballot)

  • JD

    June 8, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Did anyone read the special session request? It was to “Geller’s Special Session call is limited to regulating high-capacity rifle magazines, mandating universal background checks and expanding red flag laws.”

    Where in that are they “coming for your second amendment rights”?

    The only thing slightly ambiguous is the Red Flag Law expansion. But if you are doing shit you shouldn’t be doing, you don’t deserve a gun.

    WTF do you need high capacity magazines anyway? Hunting dinosaurs? And why should there NOT be a universal background check?

    And most don’t even read the first part of the amendment anyway: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Where is the “well regulated Militia” part in all this? How many of these gun nuts banging their chest are actually in a “well regulated” Militia?

    Give me a break. The Repubs not voting is just more pandering to people that shouldn’t have arms. It’s so they can say “I didn’t vote for that” and not be on record.

    • Biased (see how you spell it) DeSantis disliker.

      June 10, 2022 at 7:47 am

      As a gun owner, I really don’t understand why they don’t raise the age to buy semi-automatic long rifles or ban high capacity magazines. It’s pretty well known that young men’s brains don’t fully develop until around 25 years of age so keeping these weapons away from them at least until 21 makes sense and frankly, if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at with 10 rounds, you’re probably better off throwing the gun at your target and running.

      I’ve heard the argument that it’s a slippery slope but frankly, overturning an amendment would be for all practical purposes, impossible. I assume most people don’t want to see all this slaughter so that only leave one thing … money. It really is the root of all evil.

  • YYep

    June 10, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    Gun rights for the next generation and so on.this is a starting point

Comments are closed.


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