Florida enacted its first gun control measures in more than two decades on Friday when Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act ― in open defiance of the National Rifle Association.
As the Trace reported, 67 members of the Florida House and Senate with “A” or “A-plus” ratings from the gun rights group voted for the bill.
If you count Scott, who earned an A-plus rating himself, that makes 68 NRA-approved politicians who chose to break with the group.
The NRA had come out strongly against the new regulations, which include raising the minimum age for all firearms purchases to 21, creating a three-day waiting period and banning the sale of bump stocks.
Marion Hammer, the NRA’s powerful Florida lobbyist and former president, called on gun rights supporters to flood Florida House Republicans’ inboxes with messages telling them to vote no after the state Senate passed the bill.
“YOU and every other law-abiding gun owner is being blamed for an atrocious act of premeditated murder,” she wrote.
Hammer’s used to getting what she wants. A recent New Yorker profile referenced a 2011 bill that punishes local Florida officials for pushing stronger gun control measures than those at state level as one of her many victories.
Florida legislators, however, were feeling the pressure from student activists begging them to take action in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The legislation passed 20-18 in the state Senate, and 67-50 in the state House. As the Trace notes, just six of 23 Senate Republicans voted against the bill, followed by 19 of 76 House Republicans.
Many Democrats voted against the bill due to a controversial provision creating a program that allows superintendents and sheriffs to arm some school personnel, following the argument that gun-free zones prevent people from defending themselves against a shooter.
Yet the gun control measures passed this week no doubt come as an unwelcome shock to the NRA, which has long found support among Florida Republicans. How the group will retaliate against those politicians who defied its wishes remains to be seen.