Announces new efforts to counter unconstitutional state power grab
Fed up with the latest bloodshed following a white supremacist’s attack on unarmed families along the US/Mexico border, state Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) on Wednesday called on Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody to repudiate the rhetoric of hate spewing from the White House, and to stand down on NRA-backed efforts to defeat the assault weapons ballot initiative.
“Florida is not immune to the escalating violence white nationalists seek to unleash,” said Senator Taddeo, the first Democratic Latina ever elected to the state legislature. “The body count in El Paso resulted from the union of two critical elements that our own state leaders continue to refuse to address, namely the anti-immigrant onslaught from President Trump, and the easy access to legally purchased assault weapons. They fear taking on Trump. And they fear taking on the NRA.”
The Texas attack came just one week after Attorney General Moody took official steps to oppose a measure for the 2020 ballot that would ban assault weapons in Florida.
“The people of Florida want common sense gun reform. Poll after Poll has shown that Floridians of all parties want common sense gun reform. Unfortunately, instead of letting the people of Florida decide through the democratic process at the ballot box, Ashley Moody is unilaterally trying to take this critically important decision away from the voters. She is doing the bidding of the NRA and purposely ignoring the people of Florida. Shame on her.”
If that wasn’t enough, Moody acted on behalf of the NRA a second time last week. She filed a notice of appeal of the trial court’s ruling that declared as unconstitutional, a 2011 NRA backed law that prevented local government officials, under threat of fines and removal from office, from passing any gun control measures. The Court found that imposing fines and removing elected officials for passing regulations of guns, was unconstitutional.
In the 2019 legislative session, Senator Taddeo unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the unconstitutional measure. She intends to refile the measure again this year.
“This is another example of our Attorney General using our tax dollars to file a frivolous appeal. She is attempting to use the court system to circumvent the will of the people to have their local elected officials pass common sense gun laws in their communities.”
Attorney General Moody has an A rating from the NRA, which has actively worked for years in Florida to defeat common sense gun reform, and to pass pro-gun laws that have served as models for other states.
At the same time, Governor DeSantis continues his failure to criticize Trump’s relentless attacks on immigrants, such as during Trump’s campaign appearance in the Florida Panhandle in May when a supporter responded “shoot them,” in reply to Trump’s question over how to stop border crossings. Like many of his fellow Republicans, DeSantis avoids addressing Trump’s hateful rhetoric when weighing in on what to do in response to these ongoing tragedies.
All of these failures to address the root problems come as Florida finds itself at the center of a surge in hate crimes, ranking 8th nationally in the biggest rise in hate crimes from 2013-2017, according to the latest data compiled by the FBI. Earlier this year, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism published a report noting that extremist groups in Florida accounted for 197 incidents, including five murders/mass shootings, five terror plots and one police shootout. Of those incidents, 98 involved right wing extremist groups.
“The warning signs are evident, and growing” said Senator Taddeo. “Our state leaders cannot have it both ways, and owe the people more than just thoughts and prayers. Either they continue with meaningless condolences, or they take a stand. Either they agree with white supremacy or they fight it. Either they sanction government meddling in the democratic process to appease the NRA, or they let the people decide. These are the tests that will show us who they really are.”