By: José Niño
Florida has been the archetypical swing state for the last 20 years of election cycles. All eyes will be on the Sunshine State on November 3, 2020 as the country will decide between electing Democrat candidate Joe Biden and the incumbent President Donald Trump. Wall-to-wall coverage of the presidential race is to be expected.
Lost in the media noise, however, are the down-ballot elections, which many interest groups are throwing beaucoup bucks at. One of those groups is Everytown for Gun Safety. The Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control outfit is already spending $100,000 in digital ads to boost Democratic candidates in three key Senate races — Districts 9, 20, and 39. These seats are currently in Republican hands.
Similarly, Everytown for Gun Safety’s Action Fund is contributing $50,000 to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and an additional $10,000 to the Florida Democratic Party. Florida has been a major flashpoint in Second Amendment fights since the 2018 Parkland massacre. Even after Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature folded to anti-gun pressure by passing red flag gun confiscation orders and bump stock bans that same year, gun controllers are clamoring for more draconian forms of gun control.
This goes to show that even compromising won’t keep feral gun controllers at bay. If anything, it only emboldens them. To Florida’s credit, it did pass a Teacher Carry bill under Gov. Ron Desantis’s watch in 2019. This obviously angered Democrats, who in turn became even more livid after a few high-profile mass shootings took place in 2019. They demanded that a Special Session be held to specifically take on the issue of gun control. The GOP did show some resolve by refusing to follow through with these demands. Once again, Democrats attempted to move additional gun control regulations prior to the 2020 Legislative Session to later see these proposals receive nothing but crickets during the session.
“We have made incredible progress on gun safety in Florida in the past few years, but we have so much more to do,” declared Gay Valimont, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action, on the group’s website. “We’ve spent years urging the legislature to pass legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales, and now it’s time to elect lawmakers who will make it a priority. We’re throwing our full support behind our gun sense champions and will work tirelessly to elect them.”
If Democrats were to win all three of those open seats in the Senate, they would end up having a 20-20 tie with Republicans, provided that no Democratic incumbents lose on November 3. The House is largely expected to remain in Republican hands, which will be an obstacle for gun controllers in Florida.
Some no-compromise gun rights activists are of the opinion that races in Florida may be more competitive than what establishment Republicans would like their constituents to believe. And it’s largely due to them selling out their pro-gun constituents in 2018 by passing gun control.
In correspondence with Gunpowder Magazine, DJ Parten, Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights, shared his thoughts about Gun Control Inc’s plan for the 2020 elections in Florida:
“There is no doubt that Bloomberg is helping drive the anti-gun turnout this election,” Parten said. “Meanwhile, many gun owners who were betrayed by their elected officials are refusing to vote for the turncoats. We saw this during the primary when Byron Donalds (a State Rep. who voted against the gun control) defeated Dane Eagle (who voted for the gun control). Gun owners are tired of their lawmakers claiming to be pro-gun and voting for gun control.”
Parten stressed how several Republicans have made themselves vulnerable this election cycle by supporting the 2018 gun grab:
“Many Republicans in swing districts are more vulnerable now than they would have been had they not isolated their base and voted for gun control a little over two years ago,” said Parten. “Folks like Jason Brodeur running for SD 9 and Randy Fine in HD 53 voted for ‘Red Flag’ Gun Confiscation and other gun control measures in an attempt to appease the anti-gun crowd. Instead, Gun Control Inc. endorsed their opponents, and gun owners in their districts are livid over the betrayal.”
Undoubtedly, a large portion of Florida’s races — from the presidency down to the state house — will likely be razor tight. Any Republican who has let down his or her pro-gun base down could be in trouble if enough of this constituency sits out. All votes will count this election cycle, and Republican incumbents would do well not to take their pro-gun constituents’ support for granted.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.