Florida politicians are speaking out about President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals, with several prominent Republicans blasting the Democrat’s actions.
Obama announced a package of gun-control executive actions during a speech in the East Room at the White House. The cornerstone of his executive actions is a background check requirement for guns purchased from dealers even if they’re bought online or at gun shows.
Several Florida Republicans were quick to criticize the president’s actions. In an column exclusively for The Gazette, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, newspaper, presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said the executive actions show “an utter disregard for the Second Amendment.”
Marco Rubio, a fellow Floridian and 2016 hopeful, also called out Obama for the executive orders. During a Fox News interview Tuesday, Rubio said the actions “undermines the Second Amendment and will do nothing to keep people safe.”
“Barack Obama is obsessed with undermining the Second Amendment, an important protection our Constitution recognizes and defends for us,” Rubio said.
Other Florida Republicans also came out against the executive actions. In a prepared statement, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who is running for Senate, said the president will do anything to advance a political agenda “and restrict our 2nd Amendment right.”
“The President has put Washington political power plays above the constitutional rights of Americans today in an attempt to weaken our 2nd Amendment Rights, and we have seen yet again that we have a president who does not think the law, or the constitution, applies to him,” said Lopez-Cantera.
Todd Wilcox, a Republican running for Senate, said he refuses to “accept that we must give up freedom and liberty in exchange for security.”
“Trampling all over the Second Amendment will not distract from this president’s failure to keep the American people safe,” he said in a statement. “Now, more than ever, I believe that we, the citizens of this country, have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the protection of ourselves and our liberty.”
Neal Dunn, a Republican running for Congress in District 2, said the president’s “unilateral executive actions show the disdain he has for the Second Amendment.”
“The rights of law-abiding gun owners have never been under greater attack than they are today from this administration,” Dunn said in a statement. “Americans should be greatly alarmed by the President’s actions, which violate the constitutional principles of separation of powers, erode our constitutional freedoms and greatly demonstrate the need to have a constitutional conservative as our next President.”
In a statement Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said he expects to see an increase in applications for concealed weapon licenses because of the announcement.
“In Florida, where our population has soared to 20 million and we have 1.4 million concealed weapon licenses, our crime rate is at a 44-year-low,” said Putnam in a statement. “Due to this overreaching executive action, we anticipate a surge in the number of applications for concealed weapon licenses in Florida, and we are preparing to meet this increased demand.”
While Republicans bashed the move, Florida Democrats commended Obama for taking action.
Alan Grayson, who is running for Senate, said he supported the president’s actions to close the gun show loophole and said he didn’t understand “why Congressional Republicans are complaining about it.”
“To me,” he said in a statement, “their arguments seem like nonsense.”
Eric Lynn, St. Petersburg Democrat running for Congress, sad in a statement that he stands with the president and, if elected, will “fight to protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence.”
“Our current lawmakers have failed time and time again to enact common sense gun reform,” he said. “How many more innocent Americans need to fall victim before status-quo politicians will take action? I stand with President Obama in his effort to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, and, if I am elected to Congress, I will fight to protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence.”
Congressional hopeful Annette Taddeo‘s campaign called on supporters to sign up to show their support for the president’s actions. In an email to supporters, her campaign said the president’s actions were “necessary because Republicans in Congress refuse to act.”
The Associated Press contributed to this post.