Gun control advocates at Ban Assault Weapons NOW (BAWN) are endorsing Charlie Crist over Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial race.
BAWN on Thursday picked the former Governor and Congressman for his “impeccable” congressional record on gun safety, calling him the champion Florida children and families need.
“It is with great enthusiasm that family members and survivors from two of the deadliest shootings in American history, announce BAWN’s endorsement and commitment to help elect Charlie Crist as the next Governor of Florida,” the organization said in a statement.
Under a second DeSantis term, BAWN predicts gun violence will soar.
“In addition to saying he would have vetoed the bipartisan commonsense reforms passed after the Parkland massacre, Ron DeSantis has vowed to pass a permitless and untrained carry bill — allowing Floridians to carry a loaded gun in public with no permit, no safety training and no background check,” BAWN founder Gail Schwartz said.
“At a time when Florida has experienced an average of 2,849 gun deaths annually, this will unquestionably cause more bloodshed and heartache in our communities.”
BAWN is an organization assembled by the survivors and family of victims of the Pulse and Parkland mass shootings. Schwartz was the aunt of Parkland shooting victim Alex Schachter, one of the 17 students and educators who died in the attack.
The gunmen who attacked PULSE Nightclub and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School used semi-automatic rifles, which gun regulation advocacy groups like BAWN have labeled “assault weapons.” While assault weapons are used in a fraction of shootings, they have helped perpetrate the deadliest shootings in the United States.
BAWN attempted to pass a statewide assault weapons ban by ballot initiative before the Florida Supreme Court blocked the measure. The organization now targets legislative and electoral politics to push the needle on gun policy.
Although both shootings occurred before DeSantis took office, BAWN says the Republican Governor has done nothing to curb the number of similar weapons in Florida. Additionally, he has said he would have vetoed the gun safety bills passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott.
While he hasn’t made it an immediate priority, DeSantis has also said he hopes to sign a “constitutional carry” bill before he leaves office, which would remove the need for Floridians to acquire a concealed carry permit.
In Congress, which he left last month to commit full-time to his gubernatorial bid, Crist voted to reinstate the national Assault Weapons Ban.
“I’m proud to earn the support of BAWN in our mission to fight for Florida and work to put an end to the gun violence epidemic destroying our communities,” Crist said in a statement. “Enough is enough. How many more innocent children and families need to die before we take real action to keep Floridians safe? I vow to be a fighter for commonsense gun reform and a champion for safer communities.”