Just days after receiving the National Rifle Association’s survey for politicians that was sent out the end of last week, Democratic candidate for governor Philip Levine responded to the questionnaire with a snub that came in the form of a digital campaign spot targeting the survey.
It was yet another example of a Democratic gubernatorial candidate standing up to the powerful gun lobby.
The NRA uses the answers politicians provide on the survey to issue grades to those running for political office.
This year’s survey has a little more emotion to it from both sides of the gun control issue since it comes just months after 17 people were gunned down by a 19-year-old gunman at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland..
Question 3 of the survey specifically deals with the school safety law passed by state lawmakers in response to the school shootings. The survey specifically asks candidates for state office if they support the repeal of specific gun control provisions contained in the law.
3. The 2018 “Gun Control/School Safety” bill contained gun control provisions that we believe are unconstitutional. In addition to the lawsuits that have been filed against the state to overturn these provisions, pro-gun legislators have pledged to file legislation to repeal the gun control provisions.
3 (a) The new law prohibits adults between 18-21 years of age from purchasing a firearm. Adults 18 and older can vote, sign contracts, become law enforcement officers and join the military. Will you support legislation to repeal this provision of the law?
3 (b) The new law also imposes a 3-day waiting period between the purchase and the delivery of any firearm. There is no empirical evidence that waiting periods stop crime or violence. Will you support repeal of the 3-day waiting period provision of the law?
3 (c) Additionally, the law imposes a ban on the sale, transfer and possession of bump stocks, which are used to increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles AND any accessory, device or kit that can be used to increase the rate of fire of a firearm. This language, which is undefined, is so broad that it could include anything that improves the function of a firearm, including scopes, competition triggers and forgegrips, to name a few such items. The law makes anyone who sells, transfers or possesses these items, which were acquired legally, a felon. Will you support repeal of the bump stock, accessory, device and kit provision of the law?
In the ad (see below) released Wednesday by the Levine campaign, the candidate uses a dry-erase board to draw distinct differences between his views and those of the NRA’s. He focuses on five issues touched on in the NRA survey: a three-day waiting period on gun purchases, repeal of the school safety law, a ban on assault rifles, allowing local governments to enact gun ordinances and allowing guns on school campuses.
He opposes the NRA on every issue.
“Well, I know one thing,” Levine says in closing. “The NRA may not be happy with my answers, but the people of Florida certainly will be.”
“Floridians are sick and tired of the epidemic of gun violence in our schools and on our streets—they want leaders unafraid to stand up to the NRA lobby or anyone who would make our children less safe,” said Christian Ulvert, senior adviser to the Levine campaign. “The Mayor’s direct response to Floridians underscores his commitment to take action, pass common-sense gun reform, and do the right thing to make Florida’s gun laws the safest in the nation,”
Levine is not alone among the Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum , and Chris King have all spoken out firmly against the NRS’s opposition to gun control.
The NRA is adamant in its opposition to any gun control issues and opposed the school safety bill passed by the Legislature. The group specifically opposes the increase in the legal age to 21 for buying a gun in Florida and is challenging the constitutionality of that provision, claiming it takes away the rights of law-abiding young people to buy a gun.
The survey was sent out by the NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida. The NRA is known for its political clout and influence by its members in election years. The wording of the questions makes it clear that the group is still a force to be reckoned with.
But with polls taken after the Parkland shootings showing as many as 66 percent of American voters supporting measures to control certain types of weapons and tighten gun regulations, Democrats –especially those running for governor — appear more confident in standing up the NRA this year.