WASHINGTON — Sen. Rick Scott opposes the sweeping gun control legislation that passed the U.S. House this week.
“I reviewed it and I’m not going to support it,” the Florida Republican told reporters Thursday outside his Senate office. “I support the Second Amendment and I’m not going to do anything that’s going to attack law-abiding Americans from to have access to their Second Amendment rights.”
The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation that would require background checks on all gun sales in the country. Only licensed sellers are currently required to perform background checks. President Donald Trump has pledged to veto the bill.
Scott was Florida’s governor during a series of mass shootings, including those at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Last year, Scott signed legislation that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18 and also allowed some teachers to be armed.
“We passed legislation that dealt with the issue at hand,” he said.
This week, he called on lawmakers to “decide what problem we’re trying to solve.” He cited a need for improved coordination among federal agencies.
“We ought to do everything we can to make the system better, but I’m not going to do anything that’s going to take away rights from American citizens that are doing the right thing.”
In the House, eight Republicans broke ranks with their party to support the bill during the Wednesday vote. They included three Florida Republicans: Brian Mast, Vern Buchanan and Mario Diaz-Balart.
Buchanan told an ABC affiliate in Sarasota, “Our laws cannot be effective if there are gaping loopholes that allow criminals and deranged individuals to purchase firearms at gun shows or over the Internet without being subject to background checks.”