State Sen. Don Gaetz is telling constituents not to take the special-session-on-gun-control bait.
Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who was Senate president in 2012-14, sent out an email Monday. It reprinted and linked to an op-ed he wrote for the Northwest Florida Daily News, Okaloosa County’s newspaper. It appeared Sunday.
He wrote on the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. The shooter, later killed by police, called 911 to claim allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.
“Though law enforcement investigations are far from concluded, one thing seems clear — the demented and tortured wretch who committed these murders was either inspired by ISIS or wanted the world to believe he was,” Gaetz said.
But his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are pointing to the shooting as the need for a special legislative session to look at gun control in the Sunshine State.
Democratic Sen. Darren Soto of Orlando, who is running for Congress, will hold a press conference Tuesday in Orlando with other lawmakers to detail “their effort to convene a special session to address gun violence,” according to a news release.
“Some Florida state senators are using these killings to draw attention to themselves and their own campaigns for higher office — as if calling for a special legislative session would somehow cure madness, wipe away grief or defang ISIS,” Gaetz wrote. “It does get a politician in the blogs or on the front page for a news cycle or two. But how smarmy.”
Gaetz added that Senate President Andy Gardiner, a fellow Republican “who has lived in Orlando his entire life, isn’t taking the special session bait. He’s far too sensible.”
To the contrary, “huddling up a bunch of breathless legislators in Tallahassee to snap-pass laws banning guns won’t stop some terrorism-inspired human tool from building a bomb out of fertilizer or shopping the robust weapons black markets … ,” he said.
“… I surely hope we can resist allowing this tragedy to be exploited as just a slot into which politicians can jam their own agendas,’ added Gaetz, who is term-limited and leaving the Senate at the end of this year.
Soto could not be immediately reached for comment.