WASHINGTON -- The idea that gun rights could be used to ward off an overreaching federal government was a concept introduced to public in early 2010, when Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke of "Second Amendment remedies."
Two years and Angle's tough election loss later, the idea remains in vogue in some conservative circles. Florida Senate candidate Mike McCalister, who is running against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), offered a variation of the much-lampooned line during a speech before the Palms West Republican Club earlier this week.
"I get asked sometimes where do I stand on the Second and 10th Amendment, and I have a little saying," he declared. "We need a sign at every harbor, every airport and every road entering our state: 'You're entering a 10th Amendment-owned and -operated state, and justice will be served with the Second Amendment.'"
McCalister's comment, which was recorded by the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge, plays to the states' rights dogma that dominates GOP politics. That said, the suggestion that firearms will be brought to bear against the federal government isn't precisely a fixture of Republican Party talking points. Angle's declaration that "if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies" earned her lasting criticism.
McCalister already has suffered from a few campaign-related gaffes, mostly dealing with an embellished biography. But Democrats still see him as in play for the nomination. He's running against former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and former Florida state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.
A request for comment to the McCalister campaign was not immediately returned.