Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, refused to say if he would support stronger gun safety measures in the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Appearing on CNN’s Starting Point on Wednesday, Scott repeatedly dodged host Soledad O’Brien’s specific questions about which reforms, if any, he would support, at one point responding to a query about limiting assault rifles with a trite, “I support the Second Amendment.” O’Brien repeatedly pressed Scott for a more detailed reply, but the Florida governor claimed that the nation must “respect the families, mourn their losses” but avoid a detailed conversation about what can be done to prevent such tragedies in the future:
O’BRIEN: Well, you know, I understand that people often say that in the wake of a tragedy, let’s wait, and I actually think I’ve covered enough of them that, you know, we’ll wait until we bump up against the next tragedy and there will be one no, doubt about it. I guess I would like to hear from elected officials what are you willing to change? [...]
SCOTT: Right now, what we ought to be doing, let’s talk about all of the issues and think about what we can do to improve it. But here is what I think. one, I have been to the law enforcement funeral desk in our state. And the heart goes out to those families. [...]
O’BRIEN: Okay. I think with all due respect, are you not going to answer my question, because I guess — I just want you to tell me what you would be comfortable to support, and I get it, it will be part of a conversation, but I think there have been a number of things on the table and I don’t feel like you’re telling me, you know, should people not be able to buy high-capacity magazines? What are you willing to say would be a good start, that would you bring to the table in control? Any conversation about guns?
SCOTT: Well, you know, my focus is, one, respect the families, mourn their losses, make sure our schools are safe, and then start the conversation and listen to the Floridians. What I do every day is travel the state, almost, pretty much every day, and listen to Floridians and get their ideas and then come back, based on those ideas of what we can improve.
O’BRIEN: Well, I hope it all goes — all those conversations turn into meaningful conversations before I get to go out and cover another tragedy of which we’ve now done a bunch of them.
During the GOP convention in Florida, Scott made headlines when he rejected a request by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) to temporarily ban guns in the downtown area.
The mayor feared that in the “potentially contentious environment surrounding the RNC, a firearm unnecessarily increases the threat of imminent harm and injury to the residents and visitors of the city.” But Scott dismissed his concern, arguing that “It is at just such times that the constitutional right to self defense is most precious and must be protected from government overreach.”