Wasserman Schultz endorses Obama gun control moves; Republicans opposed
By Anthony Man
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday she endorsed President Barack Obama's move to tighten the control of guns.
Wasserman Schultz issued her statement before Obama finished unveiling his new proposals. Republican presidential candidates from Florida — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush — highlighted their opposition while Obama delivered his speech.
Wasserman Schultz and her husband are close friends with former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona and her husband. Giffords was severely injured — and six others killed — during an assassination attempt five years ago this week. "Since then, Congress has passed no new measures to protect Americans from such acts of depravity, despite mass shootings in communities like Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, Roseburg and many others."
More from Wasserman Schultz:
"I congratulate President Obama for taking the responsible and necessary course to use every tool at his disposal to curb gun violence. In the meantime, Republican congressional leaders and Republican presidential candidates continue to do the bidding of the gun lobby and oppose common sense measures to reduce the 30,000 gun deaths per year in our country.
"The Republican presidential candidates are so extreme in their opposition to preventing gun violence that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted against keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. They also voted against criminal background checks that have wide, bipartisan support including over 80 percent of gun owners nationally.
"There are things we can do to make our country more safe from mass shootings while respecting our Second Amendment, yet the Republican Party blocks these measures at every turn. They show nothing but political cowardice, siding with the NRA to protect the profits of gun manufacturers over the safety of their own constituents and the American people, who are sick of gun tragedies devastating communities across our country.
"The President's reasonable, legal actions today help us forge a moral path forward as a nation. Once again, Democrats are prepared to lead as Republican politicians stick their heads in the sand."
The Bush campaign distributed excerpts of a column he wrote for The Gazette, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, decrying Obama's actions.
"Barack Obama has proved again why he will go down as one of the most liberal and divisive presidents in the history of our nation. Obama's declaration that he will impose his gun control agenda by executive order shows an utter disregard for the Second Amendment as well as the proper constitutional process for making laws in our nation.
"Liberals like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton seize on every opportunity to advance a gun-grabbing agenda. After the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Obama and Clinton called for sweeping gun control provisions that would trample on the Second Amendment. ...
"When I am president of the United States, I will repeal Obama's anti-gun executive orders on Day One of my administration. I will oppose legislative actions that impose unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners, and I will nominate and fight for conservative judges who have a deep respect for the Constitution and the Second Amendment. ...
"The question facing Republican voters is who is the best candidate to take the fight to Hillary Clinton. No one has a stronger track record of standing up for gun owners and winning than I do. I am a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and as governor of Florida I passed several pro-Second Amendment pieces of legislation that made our state a national model for protecting and advancing gun rights. We were the first state to pass Stand Your Ground to enable citizens to defend themselves from attackers outside their homes. We also expanded concealed carry permits and provided reciprocity to gun owners in other states so they could carry while visiting Florida. As a result of our efforts to fortify Second Amendment rights of our citizens, Florida today has more concealed carry permit holders than any other state. I am proud of the fact that I earned an A+ rating from the NRA. ...
"With radical Islamic terrorist organizations like ISIS using mass shootings like the ones in San Bernardino and Paris to wage jihad against America and our allies, I believe it is more important than ever to stand strong in defense of gun rights.
"The Second Amendment is the original homeland security act. Rather than taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens as Obama and Clinton would like to do, we should focus on keeping guns out of the hands of the terrorists who want to kill innocent Americans. My commitment to responsible gun owners is clear. As president of the United States, I will defend the Second Amendment, always."
As the White House signaled Obama's intentions over the weekend, Rubio also responded. His campaign website features excerpts from a Time.com report on what the candidate said Sunday night.
From the Time report:
"[Obama] has waged war on the Constitution,' Rubio told a packed crowd late Sunday in Raymond, N.H. 'He is obsessed with gun control.' Obama's moves were 'meant to further erode the Second Amendment' and deny Americans the rights given by God, he argued. 'I believe that every single American has a Constitution—and therefore God-given right—to defend themselves and their families," Rubio said. ...
"While criticizing Obama's moves, Rubio said they would be temporary. 'Don't worry,' Rubio said. 'On my first day in office, behind that desk, don't worry, those orders are gone.'"