The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Rubio vs. Crist on the Gun Issue


Team Rubio makes the case for their man on the gun issue:

Beyond Marco’s lifetime A rating with the NRA, he was supportive of all NRA-sponsored bills during his term.  The background on the “guns at work” bill you mentioned as the source of discontent with the NRA (or more accurately, the NRA’s Florida head, Marion Hammer) is that, like previous years when it came up, it didn’t get passed during Marco’s first year as Speaker. It was a controversial bill that pitted pro-business against pro-2nd Amendment interests.  In Marco’s last year, he put his top lieutenants (future speakers in waiting) on point to negotiate, and they got it through after years of trying.

On the other hand, Crist’s NRA issues are more concrete – he appointed a liberal judge to the FL Supreme Court that the NRA explicitly opposed.  He also waffled on whether he would sign the “guns at work”bill, and later proposed raiding the concealed weapons fund before succumbing to pressure and vetoing his own proposal.  Below is a summary:

As Speaker, Rubio Supported The “Guns At Work” Bill, Which Passed The Florida House And Eventually Became Law

“The Florida House Wednesday passed the so-called guns-at-work bill by a 72-42 vote and sent it to the Senate. . . . The bill (HB 503), which allows concealed weapons permit holders to keep their guns locked in their cars at work and visitors who do not have such permits, was amended to exclude nuclear plants, and now goes to the Senate.”  (“House Passes ‘Guns At Work’ Bill,” St. Petersburg Times, 3/26/08)

Charlie Crist Was Initially Indecisive About Whether He Would Sign The Bill

“Senate passage is considered likely, but Gov. Charlie Crist has not said whether he will sign the bill, citing the tussle between gun rights and property rights. ‘I think there are some real competing issues with that piece of legislation,’ Crist said recently.”  (“House Passes ‘Guns At Work’ Bill,” St. Petersburg Times, 3/26/08)

Crist Eventually Signed The Bill Into Law

“Employers and business owners can no longer bar workers and shoppers from bringing guns onto their property and leaving the weapons locked inside their vehicles under a bill signed into law today by Gov. Charlie Crist.  The new law allows employees and visitors who have concealed weapons licenses to leave their weapons locked in or to vehicles. But concealed weapons license records are not available for public inspection so businesses would have no way of verifying if employees actually have the licenses.”  (“Crist Signs Bring Your Gun To Work Bill,” Palm Beach Post, 4/15/08)

Crist’s Original 2009 Budget Proposed Taking Money From A Concealed Weapons Permit Fee Trust Fund.  “Crist has often been in the NRA’s corner. Even when he didn’t know he wasn’t.  Case in point: Crist’s recommended budget for this year. It proposed taking $8 million from a trust fund dedicated to receiving concealed-weapon permit fees to help process CWPs. The Legislature knocked Crist’s recommendation down to $6 million.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

After Pressure From The NRA, Crist Vetoed His Own Proposal.  “Then the NRA made a stink, so Crist vetoed the trust fund sweep that he ultimately had proposed.  Hammer said that won’t be held against Crist because his budget was based on staff recommendations that he wasn’t fully aware of when he unveiled the spending plan. Once he learned of the implications of the trust fund sweep, Crist acted accordingly.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

Crist Has Gone Against NRA Priorities In His Appointments To The Florida Supreme Court And U.S. Senate.  “Crist did, however, buck the NRA when he chose Justice James Perry for the Florida Supreme Court. The NRA lobbied against him. The NRA also wanted Crist to pick Jim Smith to fill out the rest of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’s term, but Crist picked his former staff/campaign chief George LeMieux.”  (“Marco Rubio’s Gun Problem,” Miami Herald, 11/16/09)

Tags: Charlie Crist , Marco Rubio


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