June 06–The Florida branch of the National Rifle Association is quizzing state legislative candidates about gun-related issues, and it isn’t hard to figure out which candidates will score well and how they’ll do it.
The NRA is staunchly opposed to any kind of gun restrictions. It opposed the Florida law passed in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, continues to oppose it, and wants key provisions repealed.
The law raises the minimum age to buy rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21, extends the previous three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks that allow firearms to perform like automatic weapons.
Polls show the public overwhelmingly supports the key gun-control provisions. But passage of the law was a major blow to the NRA, which has successfully held sway in the Florida Legislature for decades.
The NRA’s views on the law are clear in the wording of one section of the four-page questionnaire.
Question 3: “The 2018 ‘Gun Control/School Safety’ bill contained gun control provisions that we believe are unconstitutional. In addition to the lawsuits that have been filed against the state to overturn these provisions, pro-gun legislators have pledged to file legislation to repeal the gun control provisions.
“(a) The new law prohibits adults between 18-21 years of age from purchasing a firearm. Adults 18 and older can vote, sign contracts, become law enforcement officers and join the military. Will you support legislation to repeal this provision of the law?
“(b) The new law also imposes a 3-day waiting period between the purchase and the delivery of any firearm. There is no empirical evidence that waiting periods stop crime or violence. Will you support repeal of the 3-day waiting period provision of the law?
“(c) Additionally, the law imposes a ban on the sale, transfer and possession of bump stocks, which are used to increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles AND any accessory, device or kit that can be used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm. This language, which is undefined, is so broad that it could include anything that improves the function of a firearm, including scopes, competition triggers and foregrips, to name a few such items. The law makes anyone who sells, transfers or possesses these items, which were acquired legally, a felon. Will you support repeal of the bump stock, accessory, device and kit provision of the law?
“(d) If you were an incumbent, did you vote for SB-7026 the “gun control/school safety” bill?”
The questions were publicized Tuesday by Anna V. Eskamani, a Democratic candidate for Florida House in Orange County. She wrote on Twitter that her questionnaire was going in the recycling bin. The questionnaire was provided to news reporters by Democrats.
The questionnaire makes clear that crossing the gun lobby brings consequences.
The NRA is a potent political force. Its clout comes largely from the grades it gives politicians and its efforts to mobilize members to go to the polls to support or oppose candidates.
The questionnaire was issued by the NRA and United Sportsmen of Florida.
And no one gets a pass on any of the 11 questions, some of which have multiple parts. Candidates are told in an underlined passage that “unanswered questions will be graded as a response against Second Amendment rights.” The warning is repeated in all-capital letters at the end of the questionnaire.
Additional excerpts from the “2018 Florida Candidate Questionnaire:”
— “In our view, completion of this questionnaire and signing your name is giving your word. NRA and USF members as well as other constituents in your district trust you to keep your word. Do you agree that your answers are giving your word and that we expect you to keep it?”
The options for answering the question are, “Yes, and I will keep my word on these questionnaire answers.” or “No. I may not always keep my word on these questionnaire answers.”
— “The Florida Constitution (Article I, Section 2) guarantees basic rights to all natural persons including the right to defend life and protect property. The oath of office requires you to place a hand on the Bible and swear to support, defend and protect both the U.S.Constitution and the Florida Constitution. That includes the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights. If elected, will you support, defend and protect those rights?”
— “Semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns have been used for hunting, recreational shooting, organized competition (including the Olympics) and self-defense since their development over 100 years ago. Semi-automatics can only fire ONE shot with each separate pull of the trigger. All semi-automatic firearms are functionally identical no matter how they look or what you call them.
“Fully-automatic machine guns are capable of firing MULTIPLE rounds with one pull of the trigger. They have been essentially banned from private civilian ownership since 1934.
“Knowing the difference, would you oppose state legislation restricting the private possession, ownership, purchase, sale and/or transfer of commonly-owned semi-automatic fire arms that are called ‘assault weapons’ by gun ban organizations?”
— “Licenses to carry Concealed Weapons & Firearms are issued only to persons who are 21 years of age or older. The constitutional right of self-defense does not end when a person enters the campus of a college or university. Do you believe that anti-gun school administrators should be stopped from discriminating against persons licensed by the state to lawfully carry firearms for self-defense?”
Candidates are also asked if they are attorneys, if they’ve ever been prosecutors — and if they’ve ever served as public defenders or criminal defense attorneys. They’re also asked if they’re members o the NRA, the sportsmen’s group, or any other such organization.
This article provided by NewsEdge.