FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses to Answer Soledad O'Brien's Questions on Gun Control
I'm sure Florida's Gov. Rick Scott will come around on some reasonable gun control laws about the same time he decides to actually do something for the voters of his state other than disenfranchise them with long lines at the polls -- which is never. He did his best to feign concern for both issues on Soledad O'Brien's show this Wednesday morning: CNN Anchor Blasts Florida Governor For Ducking Gun Control, Demands Action Before ‘I Cover Another Tragedy’:
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:[...]
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.
I'd like to see someone ask this guy how in the hell it is that a crook like himself ever managed to get elected as the governor of Florida in the first place. I'm not holding my breath for that to ever happen though.
Full transcript below the fold.
O'BRIEN: All right, John, thank you. The presidential election was on November 6th. Of course, the winner was announced late that night. Florida though did not declare a winner until four days later, and just this Monday, it handed off officially its Electoral College votes this Monday.
That's partly because of images like these, people who waited in line for up to six hours to cast their votes across the state along with voter fraud, allegations, voter purge controversies and much more.
Rick Scott is the governor of Florida. He is hoping change some of that with some new legislation. He joins us this morning. It's nice to have you with us, Governor. Thank you. Appreciate your time. What changes are you proposing?
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Well, first, Soledad, I just want to thank you. You've done a great job with compassion, thoughtful coverage of the tragedy in Connecticut. You just -- I mean, you can't imagine that happening to your family or your community. So I just want to thank you for that.
O'BRIEN: Appreciate that, thank you.
SCOTT: But going to the voter -- look, people are frustrated in our state. Some of our counties, we have very long lines, you know, we've got to reach a confidence in our election. So I've asked our secretary of state to sit down with our supervisor of elections.
Almost all of them are elected. Some are Republicans, some Democrats and get feedback. What went wrong? Why did we have long lines? Why did it take them so long to get results to us?
We compiled them at the state, basically the supervisor of elections give us. So we need to have bipartisan legislation that deals with three issues. The one is the length of these ballots. We have -- I have the ballot from Miami-Dade, 12 pages, 12 pages of ballots.
This took some people 40 minutes to get through. So we've got to deal with the length of our ballots and local issues, state issues, and it was just too long.
O'BRIEN: There are --
SCOTT: Secondly, we need more flexibility.
O'BRIEN: Go ahead. You said more flexibility.
SCOTT: I think -- I think there are three things. One, the length of the ballot. Two, we've got to allow our supervisors more flexibility in the size of polling locations and three, the number of days we have. We got to go back and look at the number of days of early voting we had.
O'BRIEN: I guess, I'm asking how much of a blame do you hold in this -- or do you hold yourself accountable for? Because there are people blamed you very vociferously frankly for not extending early voting.
When you look at some of the polling, Quinnipiac has a poll out, does Governor Scott deserve a second term, 52 percent say no. And in your own party, more than half of the people say they would like another candidate to challenge you.
So how much of this -- you are suffering the consequences of some of the things that you could have changed.
SCOTT: Well, Soledad, you know, I complied with the law. You know, we had an election bill that was passed my first year in office by the legislature. It was proved by the Justice Department, so I complied with the law.
You know, when you are governor, you have to comply with the law and that's what I did. But we do need change. We need to have a bipartisan group come together, Republicans and Democrats, and say we have to improve this. We have to restore the confidence of all Americans in the election process in Florida.
O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a question? Off of this and turning to gun control, which obviously you have been talking about for days now. You have an "A" rating from the NRA and the NRA has now said they are going to offer meaningful contributions in the wake of this terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. What do you think they mean by that?
SCOTT: Well, I think the right thing, we ought to do is do what you have been doing and that's respect these families in this community. Second, what I've done in the state is ask every one of our schools to go back and let's look at safety precautions and make sure every parent feels comfortable.
I mean, I talked to families up in Connecticut, and I talk to families around Florida. Some of them were very -- they really had to think about sending their child to school this week. So that's the next thing to do.
There will be plenty of time to think about if there is something we ought to deal with. Mental illness issues we ought to deal with. Things like that. O'BRIEN: So what would you support in terms of legislation if it in fact comes to that? I mean, do you believe that there should be stronger gun laws? You're well supported by the NRA and historically they have not reported that. So how far would you be willing to go?
SCOTT: Sure. Well, as you know, I support the second amendment. I believe --
O'BRIEN: Me too.
SCOTT: -- in second amendment. But what I want to focus on right now is the families, make sure our states, our schools are safe. In our state, we have a 41-year low on the crime rate. So we're doing the right things in our state. Whenever anything happens like this, let's step back, say what can we improve?
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? Your daughter, you have talked about her, she's a teacher. Is your answer let's arm the teachers? Some have proposed that.
Is your answer let's not make these semi-automatic weapons available -- the rifles, long guns available? Do you think background checks should be instituted? Right now, somebody can be mentally ill and it won't show up in a background check or a conviction for domestic violence and still get a gun. Where does it start? What are you comfortable doing?
SCOTT: I think 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 your heart goes out to those families. And afterward, you say what can we do to improve? In Florida, we're doing the right things right now. We're at a 41-year low in our crime rate. I always want to sit back and say, OK, what could we do better? That's what I want to think about with this.
O'BRIEN: OK. I think with all due respect, you are 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 you would bring to the table in any conversation about gun control?
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.
SCOTT: I can't imagine this happening to our families.
O'BRIEN: My goodness, no. Governor Rick Scott joining us, he is the governor of Florida. Thanks for being with us, sir. Appreciate your time.