Is Rick Scott Playing Politics? Fla. Senator Opposes Federal Gun Law He Once Rallied Behind at State Level

During his term as governor of Florida, Scott signed into law a bill that raised the age to buy firearms in the state to 21 — criticizing the federal government's response to shootings at the time

Rick Scott
Rick Scott. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty

Florida Sen. Rick Scott says he would be opposed to a federal bill raising the age at which individuals could legally buy firearms to 21 — despite the fact that he signed a bill into law doing exactly that while governor of Florida.

Asked by CNN reporter Manu Raju this week what he thought about a federal law to raise the age to buy guns, Scott said, " think that all this stuff ought to be done at the state level," adding: "Because you can change the laws easier at the state level."

During his term as governor of Florida, Scott signed into law a bill that raised the age at which individuals could legally buy firearms in the state to 21. As CNN reports, Scott expressed his support for the measure at the time — and criticized the federal government's lack of action.

"If you look at the federal government, nothing seems to have happened there," Scott said when he signed the measure into law weeks after the mass shooting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. "You go elect people, you expect them to represent you, get things done."

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle attempt to come to a compromise on gun legislation following several recent mass shootings, Scott has been firm in recent weeks that he is opposed to "attacks" on gun owners.

"My focus is 100% on school safety & protecting our teachers & students," he tweeted this week. "Taking rights away from law-abiding Americans is not the answer & nothing more than an attack on the 2nd Amendment."

His recent comments bear something of a contrast to his remarks in 2019, when he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that he supported "red flag" laws.

"Let me be clear: I am a gun owner, a member of the National Rifle Association and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," Scott — who is rumored to be mulling a 2024 run for the presidency — wrote at the time. "But the horror of Parkland demanded a swift, practical legislative response to try to prevent future such nightmares."

Scott's latest comments come as calls for gun reform have reached a crescendo, escalated by last month's mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, in which a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, and another recent shooting at Tops Supermarket in B uffalo, New York, in which 10 people were killed and three others wounded.

Many of Scott's Republican colleagues have continued to oppose gun reform measures, with some arguing that banning assault weapons — which President Joe Biden has advocated for — isn't the answer, because the weapons are used to protect against small animals.

Others have suggested that, instead of banning guns, the U.S. should focus on strengthening doors and adding security at schools.

To express your opinion on gun reform proposals to your own representatives in Congress, you can look them up and contact them here:

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