Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. That's Brian's mantra and what drives him to get beyond the headlines with daily stories driven...Read More

 

Dividing Lines


The most meaningful vote on federal gun control measures in nearly thirty years took place Tuesday night in the United States Senate. The vote to advance debate on a package of gun control related measures. In total 14 Republicans joined with all Democrats in advancing the debate on legislation which is increasingly likely to become law. The 14 Republicans included notable senators like John Cornyn, the key GOP negotiator and minority leader Mitch McConnell. Notably it didn’t include either of Florida’s senators. What’s most notable about that is our junior Senator Rick Scott, was our governor and central organizer of 2018’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act. The law which enacted the most stringent gun control measures in Florida’s history – which included the raising of the legal age to purchase firearms to 21 (except for members of law enforcement and the military), imposed a 3-day waiting period for long guns and imposed risk protection orders – or a “red flag law”. By comparison the federal legislation he voted against, along with Senator Marco Rubio – who's up for reelection this year – is far more benign. The Senate legislation includes expanded background checks for buyers under 21, provides grants to states for implementation of their own risk protection orders and provides money for mental health services and school security. Florida’s law is already far wider-reaching than this. In fact, should this federal bill become law it’ll effectively have no bearing on gun policy in Florida. So why then the opposition by Florida’s Senators? It comes down to dividing lines. In a recent interview with Senator Scott, I specifically asked him about what he thought of the Senate negotiations and whether he might support federal measures. He expressed skepticism and said something significant that colors the votes of many federal legislators. There’s a significant difference between crafting policy at the state level, which is designed for a specific state and enforced by state and local law enforcement, and federal policy imposed on all states and enforced by federal law enforcement. The heavy hand of the federal government applies here. And that’s the dividing line and the difference in the vote.

American constitution, USA flag and a handgun

Photo: Getty Images


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