Farmer attacked for being anti-gun control
Teamwork, technology and diversity were among the topics addressed by FBI Director Christopher Wray at Saturday’s luncheon for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.
State Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, filed bills in the 2018 legislative session to require firearms to be stored with trigger locks, to mandate that even private sales of firearms have background checks, and to repeal a ban on a state firearms registry.
He filed the same triggerlock and private-sales bills in 2017, his first session in the Florida Legislature.
None of those bills passed in the Republicandominated legislature, or even got a committee hearing.
He also voted against the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act, despite provisions that required three-day waiting periods on gun purchases and a 21-and-older age limit, because of a provision that could arm teachers in schools. He also, strategically, believed that if the bill failed, the legislature would be forced to go back and add more gun control measures.
And yet, Farmer is now being attacked as a pro-gun candidate.
Because of the gun-control measures in the school safety bill that Farmer voted against, Floridians Against Guns is calling out Farmer for voting against gun control.
On its website, the group also attacked Farmer for working for Marion Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist (his law firm represented her daughter in a case that was not gun-related), lobbying Republican senators on state time (texts first reported on by Florida Politics show Farmer thanking a Republican senator after her vote against a bill that trial lawyers were also against, and Farmer previously headed the Florida Justice Association, a group that represents trial lawyers) and telling state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, that she was not the best person to be the Senate Minority Leader because she had young children. Farmer later apologized.
Those are the same attacks being issued by Jim Waldman, Farmer’s opponent in an Aug. 28 Democratic primary. Waldman previously lost to Farmer in a 2016 Democratic primary that was notable for both the vast amount of money spent and the nastiness of mailers.
Neither Waldman nor Farmer responded to requests for comment.
Floridians Against Guns is not registered with the state as a political committee. But business records show it incorporated in Florida on July 2. The address listed on its website is that of the law firm that filed the paperwork. But the director of the company is listed as Jason Heard, who has a Palm Springs, Calif., address.
According to records from California and Nevada, Heard appears to be a registered Republican.
Reached by phone and asked why a California Republican who never lived in Florida was so interested in a South Florida Democratic primary, Heard responded, “That’s a really good question,” and promised to call back after concluding a call on another line. Heard did not call back. Heard’s group is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, meaning it does not have to disclose donors, so it’s unclear who is paying for the website.