News

U.S.

Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Trade Barbs Over Parkland Failures

Republican Florida governor candidate Ron DeSantis (left), and Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum. (Carlos Barria/Joe Skipper/Reuters)

Republican congressman Ron DeSantis and Democratic mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum clashed during the Sunday night gubernatorial debate over what led to the deadly school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida.

On Valentine’s Day, a former student opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 students, teachers, and staff and injuring 17 others.

In the aftermath, Florida governor Rick Scott signed legislation that raised the minimum age to purchase rifles to 21, banned bump stocks, and provided funding for mental-health assistance, as well as arming teachers and some staff.

CNN moderator Jake Tapper asked Republican candidate DeSantis why he said he would not have signed the bill. DeSantis said he is more focused on school security and on “identifying those people who should not have access to weapons.”

“We are going to fix it in terms of school security,” the Florida congressman said. “I think the blanket restriction on age is going to get struck down by the courts.”

“I think we have to take some of these people who are causing problems like this killer — he should have been convicted of crimes. He should have been Baker-Acted. He should not have been on the streets.”

The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows families of those close to someone with mental-health issues to impose temporary detention for people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

DeSantis slammed the administrative failures of Broward County, saying they catalyzed last semester’s tragedy. He is working with Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow in the shooting, to reform the county.

Three Broward County sheriff’s deputies remained outside the school as the shooter gunned people down inside with his AR-15. The county has also been criticized for ignoring red flags about the shooter, who had documented developmental problems and mental-health issues and was reported to authorities multiple times, including by callers who were worried that he could turn into a school shooter specifically.

Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum accused his opponent of being “wholly owned by the NRA.”

“He’s not going to stand up to the National Rifle Association,” the Democrat said. “That’s why they’re running all these ads against me, because they want the man that they bought.”

Tallahassee is “out of control in terms of crime” under Gillum’s direction, DeSantis fired back.

“Ron is being Don, and that’s Donald Trump, neglecting all sense of reason and facts,” Gillum said, citing Tallahassee’s drop in crime last year.

Tallahassee’s crime rate went down in 2017, but the city still ranks first in the state and third in murder rate.

Most Popular

U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Education

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More