Most politicians are opportunists, but Florida Governor Rick Scott took it to a new low. In the aftermath of the horrific slaughter in Parkland, Florida, we learned that FBI procedures failed, and the information provided by concerned citizens did not make it to the Miami Field Office for action. The FBI certainly needs to review what happened and fix it to prevent any future such failure. No question. However, Governor Scott immediately called for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign, in a not so veiled and clearly political stunt. Rick Scott is planning to challenge Senator Bill Nelson this year and he wants plenty of NRA funding for his campaign.
It is possible, but highly unlikely, that FBI action would have prevented this. As abhorrent as was Nikolas Cruz’s behavior, unfortunately there was little of record that was a sufficient violation to support action against him. In fact, Cruz was investigated for the very same concerns by state (Gov. Scott’s state) and local agencies and they found no sufficient basis for action. Personally, I disagree that his actions had some protection under the law, but that is part of a much larger debate concerning free speech, mental health, and other issues.
The critical point here is that Cruz lawfully purchased the AR 15 under Florida law. Incredibly lax gun laws (federal and state) allowed this to happen. Florida law does not have a waiting period to buy assault weapons such as the AR 15, nor does Florida law have permit requirements. There is merely a cursory background check for handguns. Cruz lawfully purchased his AR 15 at age 18 and he did so despite state and local officials having knowledge and concerns about his affinity for guns and violence, knowledge and concerns about his white supremacy, and concerns about his mental health. There is Parkland blood on the hands of Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature. What more will it take for you to fix these ineffective gun safety laws that significantly risk public safety? How much NRA money do you receive? Is your quest for political power more important than school children’s lives? If Christopher Wray should resign, by that same analysis so should Governor Scott. More importantly, this is the time to show real leadership and lead the effort to make Florida gun laws more effective. But you won’t. You are already playing politics. Shame on you, Rick Scott.