Broward County

Scott hasn’t declared Senate candidacy, but his support of gun lobby draws attack ad

Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t declared he’s running for the Senate this fall, but a gun control super PAC is already hammering him over his record on guns.
Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t declared he’s running for the Senate this fall, but a gun control super PAC is already hammering him over his record on guns. ttompkins@bradenton.com

Giffords PAC, founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is spending “a strong six figures” on a television ad attacking Florida Gov. Rick Scott for his defense of the 2011 “Glocks vs. docs” bill, the organization’s executive director, Peter Ambler, said.

“Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Parkland. We need to stop dangerous people from getting guns, but Gov. Rick Scott made it illegal for a doctor to ask a patient if they owned a gun, even a mental health professional,” the gravelly voice in the 30-second ad says. “This law was so dangerous that a court had to strike it down.

“Gov. Scott, we need more than your thoughts and prayers. Stop putting the gun lobby ahead of our safety.”

The ad is running in the Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Palm Beach markets starting Tuesday, Ambler said.

Scott, who is term-limited from running for governor again, is expected to challenge Florida Sen. Bill Nelson in the fall. But with Floridians furious over last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Scott’s A+ rating from the National Rifle Association could be a liability.

A Scott spokeswoman dismissed the ad.

“The governor is not focused on politics,” Lauren Schenone said. “He’s focused on finding real solutions to keep students safe. He will announce his proposals later this week.”

The “docs vs. Glocks” bill is one of the reasons for the NRA’s endorsement.

Passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Scott, the bill, among other things, would have prevented doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes.

It was considered a highly controversial gift to the gun lobby, but Scott vigorously defended it — until the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals shot it down, saying that parts of it were unconstitutional.

Florida had to pay out $1.1 million in legal fees to the lawyers who challenged the law.

Ambler said Scott is vulnerable on guns.

“He had two of the top 10 mass shootings in our country’s history take place in a very short time, and he’s done nothing,” Ambler said Monday. “It’s really important we educate voters across the state that not only has he not done anything to solve the problem, he’s worked with the gun lobby to make it worse.”

Lawrence Mower: 850-222-3095, lmower@tampabay.com, @lmower3

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