Bill Nelson versus Rick Scott for U.S. Senate is not official, but Gov. Scott is expected to make a major announcement April 9. The potential race will focus on a variety of issues, but gun control is likely to be a main tipping point for voters.
The National Rifle Association gives Gov. Scott an A+ rating, while Sen. Bill Nelson gets an F for policies relating to gun ownership. Both of them answered questions about the NRA in interviews following separate Palm Beach County events they attended Tuesday.
“I was an NRA member when I came in," Scott said. "I believe in the second amendment. I’ll be an NRA member when I get out.”
“I’ve never accepted a dime," Nelson said.
Since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, protests and marches have erupted over gun control and the NRA's funding of politicians. Along with that, 18-year-olds currently in high school are promising to vote this year.
“I think the students are already there," Nelson said. "They are reflecting what the people of Florida already think, but it’s the first time that it’s really been a protest.”
Scott’s support of Florida’s new school safety bill, which includes raising the age to buy a rifle to 21, angered the NRA. The organization is now suing the state, arguing the measure is unconstitutional.
Scott said he hasn't talked to the NRA since the lawsuit was filed.
“It’s a good bill. I’m going to fight for the bill," he said. "If you stop and think about it, what I asked the legislature is give me a bill, give me the money for more law enforcement, we have that. I wanted a bill that would put more mental health counselors in our schools, we have that.”
Nelson said there’s more that needs to be done and he’ll be pushing for that.
“You’ve got to do comprehensive background checks, that’s got to be part of the law," he said. "And you’ve got to get these long magazines of 30 rounds, get them off the streets with the assault rifles.”