As Gov. Rick Scott (R) contemplates a challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson (D), he “is embroiled in a fierce debate over gun control that has seen the governor split with President Donald Trump and some members of his own party over what should be done to prevent another mass shooting. The escalated sniping between Nelson and Scott may presage a heated campaign in a swing state that twice supported President Barack Obama but then backed Trump.”
“Nelson mocked Scott, saying he lacked ‘guts’ for skipping an emotionally charged town hall forum attended by survivors and family members of those killed at the Parkland school. He also criticized Scott because the state had offered financial incentives to gun manufacturers. Scott snapped back at Nelson, saying he had failed to pass any substantial gun measures during his three terms in office.”
“Right now polls suggest voters in Florida are on Nelson’s side. A poll by Quinnipiac University, which was done more than a week after the shootings in Parkland, said 62 percent support a nationwide ban on ‘assault weapons’ and 96 percent support background checks on all gun buyers.” (AP)
LEGISLATION. Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) are pushing a bill that would “help alert state law enforcement agencies to allow them to enforce existing laws against individuals who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so.” The legislation is backed by several other senators, including Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). (Florida Politics)
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"Congress is considering attaching a narrow background check bill for gun purchases to a must-pass government funding package before the end of the week, when thousands of high school students are expected to congregate in Washington for the March to End Gun Violence. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday said leadership was talking to its members about adding the background legislation, even as news broke of a new school shooting on Tuesday morning in Maryland."
"The House likely will not vote until Thursday on an omnibus spending bill, according to numerous lawmakers who attended a GOP conference meeting this morning. Some two dozen issues are still outstanding, members were told. The $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 measure must be passed before government funding runs out Friday."