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As Parkland Students Rally In Tallahassee, More Floridians Speak Out Against Rick Scott’s Record Opposing Gun Safety

*NEW* Orlando Sentinel, Pulse Survivor: “Scott and his spineless colleagues offer up empty words and predictable inaction.”

*NEW* Tampa Bay Times, Romano: “Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds.”

*NEW* Sun Sentinel, Schultz: “Even on mental health, Scott has no standing.”

As Parkland students and gun safety advocates prepare to rally this morning in Tallahassee, Floridians continue speaking out against Governor Rick Scott’s long record of opposing common sense gun safety measures and only looking out for himself. Columnists wrote how Scott slashed funding for mental health and school safety programs, mayors detailed Scott’s efforts to cripple local gun safety initiatives — and a powerful guest column from a Pulse shooting survivor condemns Scott’s record of empty words and broken promises on this critical issue.

Here are the facts: Scott “signed a bill that barred doctors from asking patients whether they had access to guns;” “did not propose new gun laws or seek significant mental health funding increases after the Pulse nightclub massacre;” slashed millions in funding for school safety; ended $20 million in funding for mental health care despite Florida already ranking at the bottom of the nation for mental health funding; has “long resisted gun control efforts” including refusing to support expanded background checks and a ban on assault weapons; and under Scott Florida has “some of weakest gun laws in [the] nation.”

And here’s what they’re saying:

From The Orlando Sentinel: Pulse survivor to Scott, GOP: ‘Do your job or get out of our way.’ Dear Gov. Scott and the GOP: Our patience has come to an end. Almost two years ago, I witnessed hell…Republicans and their cowardice have failed us. At every turn, folks like Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio have chosen to bankroll their campaigns rather than do their jobs.”

Scott and Rubio will tell you they’re on your side, and then they don’t deliver. In 2016, my Orlando community learned the hard way: Change is being held hostage.

“Once again, staring down a preventable tragedy and a media firestorm, Scott and his spineless colleagues offer up empty words and predictable inaction. Where were stronger background checks after Pulse? Where were bump-stock bans after Las Vegas? Where did the outrage go after Sandy Hook?”

“On June 12, 2016, I told myself we would be the last. I watched 49 names scroll across the television screen and promised them that their deaths would not be in vain. Now, fewer than two years removed, Republican leaders have not strengthened our gun laws or provided more funding for mental-health care. In fact, they’ve worked every day to roll back regulations and make it easier to purchase assault-style weapons in Florida.”

From ShareBlue: Shooting survivor shames governor for skipping town hall: ‘He’s scared.’ “Survivors of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting are putting relentless pressure on Republicans, including their governor, Rick Scott, to do something about gun violence, and they’re not taking no for an answer.”

From The Florida Bulldog: Gov. Scott skirted Russia sanctions to offer tax breaks to maker of AK-47 assault rifle: Gov. Rick Scott’s administration offered $162,000 in state tax breaks to bring to South Florida the manufacturer of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, even though the U.S. had imposed sanctions against Russian-made military assault weapons.”

From Politico: Scott offering “no details” on specific gun safety measures.

From The Tampa Bay Times, Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds: “Back in the pre-recession days of more than a decade ago, the school safety portion of the education budget was slightly more than $75 million annually… then dropped to $64.5 million in Rick Scott’s first budget of 2011-12. That number has remained stuck at $64.5 million ever since. This is despite the Department of Education requesting increases every year. This is despite Scott making campaign pledges to increase school safety funds in 2014. This is despite law enforcement officials and school districts around the state publicly acknowledging they do not have the funds to provide adequate security on campuses.

From The Sun Sentinel, Schultz: Even on mental health, Scott has no standing. As of 2014, according to the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute, the state’s per capita spending on mental health services ranked last — $36.05. The national average was $129.05. Maine ranked first at $362.75.”

The governor has been in office for seven years. He has not stressed mental health in any proposed budget. But Scott has signed legislation to keep local governments from enacting gun-control rules. He has signed legislation prohibiting doctors from asking patients about guns in the home. He has expanded the “Stand Your Ground” law.”

From The Miami Herald: Florida mayors can be fined $5,000 if they enact stricter local rules on gun control. “Florida bans cities and counties from imposing their own gun-control rules. Seven years ago, the Republican-controlled Legislature even created a $5,000 fine it can impose on mayors like Stoddard if they ever try to enforce stricter regulations on firearms.”

From The Tampa Bay Times: Tampa Bay’s mayors frustrated on gun control by state lawmakers.  “People are worried after Parkland, and rightfully so,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I have to tell them that there’s nothing we can do.” Kriseman is referring to a 2011 law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, that allows Florida’s governor to remove an elected official who violates the ban on local firearms rules and impose a $5,000 fine, essentially stripping cities of the ability to regulate guns. “It’s really outrageous,” Kriseman said.”

“‘The Florida Legislature is owned lock, stock and barrel, to use a gun analogy, by the NRA,” Buckhorn said, saying that the law is “onerous” and “egregious.” As an example, Buckhorn cited Gov. Rick Scott’s refusal to allow an exemption to the law during the 2012 Republican National Convention.

From The Washington Post: “Republicans’ actions show that “mental health” is just a verbal fig leaf…at the state level things are no better: In the wake of the shooting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said that more funding for mental health care is needed; what he didn’t mention is that during his seven years as governor, Florida’s per-capita spending on mental health has fallen to 50th in the nation.”

From The Florida Bulldog: Gov. Scott skirted Russia sanctions to offer tax breaks to maker of AK-47 assault rifle: Gov. Rick Scott’s administration offered $162,000 in state tax breaks to bring to South Florida the manufacturer of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, even though the U.S. had imposed sanctions against Russian-made military assault weapons.” 

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