Florida congressional candidate crashes DeSantis appearance with anti-gun stunt

AP Photo/John Raoux

Florida’s 10th Congressional District is a fairly reliable Democratic enclave. It’s currently represented by Democrat Val Demings, who’s challenging Marco Rubio this fall, however, which means that there’s a scrum of Democratic candidates vying to replace her, and on Thursday night one of them decided to channel their inner Beto and crash an event featuring Gov. Ron DeSantis in order to grandstand for more gun control.

In a picture-perfect twist of hypocrisy, Maxwell Alejandro Frost accused DeSantis of being “too busy helping” conservative influencer Dave Rubin “raise money” to care about saving lives… before using his own stunt to raise money for his congressional campaign.

It’s true that DeSantis hasn’t called for any new gun control laws in response to the shootings in Uvalde, unlike Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, who declared that he’d ban so-called assault weapons by executive order on his first day in office, despite the fact that the governor doesn’t have the authority to do any such thing. There’s more than one way to milk a tragedy for political purposes, and Frost and Crist have given us a couple of examples over the past few days.

If there really was an overwhelming amount of support for a ban on the most commonly-sold rifle in the country among Florida voters, I have no doubt that the Republican-controlled legislature would at least pay lip service to the idea. After all, in the wake of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018, the legislature did approval several new gun laws, including raising the age to purchase a so-called assault weapon to 21 and establishing a “red flag” gun seizure law. There’s simply no real evidence that most Floridians want to enact a gun ban, however, and plenty of evidence that the idea isn’t nearly as popular as Democrats claim.

Back in 2019, there was an attempt to put a referendum before Florida voters that would have banned the sale of semi-automatic rifles. A group called Ban Assault Weapons Now raised a lot of money on the ballot issue, but as it turns out, most of the cash for the campaign came from just a few deep-pocketed donors.

A baker’s dozen of big-money contributors, including a couple of billionaires, have provided extensive financial support for the effort to get a proposed assault-weapons ban on the Florida election ballot in 2020.
The contributions from the 13 donors who gave $10,000 or more amount to more than half the $1 million raised by the group Ban Assault Weapons Now, a review of campaign finance filings by the South Florida Sun Sentinel found.
Small-dollar donations also have poured into the political committee, often in response to heart-rending fundraising solicitations from family members of people who were killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
More than 17,000 contributions of less than $100 have come into the group, which goes by the acronym BAWN. The contributes from all those people add up to $273,000 — half the total from the 13 big contributors.

Not a lot of grassroots support there. In fact, the organizers of the ballot initiative couldn’t even get the required number of signatures to get on the 2020 ballot, which is another clear indication that a gun ban isn’t popular with Florida voters. The group tried to convince the state Supreme Court to let them continue gathering signatures for this year’s election, but the court shot down that idea by declaring in an 4-1 decision that the ballot initiative language “affirmatively misleads” voters.

Here we are two years later and those same anti-gun activists are still up to their old misleading ways. Crist is lying to voters about the power and authority vested in the office of governor under Florida’s constitution, while Frost is exploiting the murders of 19 children and two teachers to get some much-needed campaign cash.

As for Frost’s campaign, I’d love to hear him explain how he can claim that he will “never support a policy that increases the incarceration rates” while also promising to put a host of new federal gun control laws, replete with federal prison sentences for violators, in place if elected to Congress. If he’s so strongly opposed to “mass incarceration”, making it a federal crime to possess the most commonly-owned rifles and magazines in the hands of responsible gun owners is a strange way to show it… but neither the media or even his Democratic primary opponents will call out his hypocritical stance because they share it too.