Corcoran slams 'irrational, irresponsible' Democrats over guns
As Florida House Democrats delivered petitions Tuesday by 46 members seeking to poll all 160 lawmakers on the need for a special session on guns, House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran called them "irrational, irresponsible and unstatesmanlike."
Democrats needed 32 signatures on a petition to press Secretary of State Ken Detzner to poll members on whether a special session should be held to consider new gun restrictions in the wake of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12.
Detzner's polling of members may start later Tuesday. Support from three-fifths of the members of both chambers (72 House members and 24 senators) is needed for a session to be held. The Democrats' chances of reaching that goal is very remote (Republicans hold majorities of 81-39 in the House and 26-14 in the Senate). A total of 20 Republican incumbents (seven senators and 13 reps) were re-elected without opposition last Friday. The leader of the petition effort, Democratic Sen. Darren Soto of Orlando, is running for Congress.
Corcoran, a Land O'Lakes Republican, issued a statement to the Times/Herald that said: "I'm very disappointed in my Democratic colleagues. It was and is my hope to work in an honest and professional bipartisan spirit for the next two years. Unfortunately, the irrational, irresponsible and unstatesmanlike actions of some place that expectation in jeopardy. This is especially true because this is being done solely for political purposes. Whenever politics is your sole purpose, the people lose. I do have complete faith in my Republican colleagues to be statesmen and to use common sense and to govern properly."
Told of Corcoran's remarks, House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said: "The last time I checked, Democrats have every right that Republicans have for the triggering of a survey among legislators. This is an opportunity for a bipartisan moment. Legislators have an opportunity to do things all through the year, not just 60 days out of the year."
Democrats repeated their call for legislation to block people from buying a weapon in Florida if they are on a "no-fly" or terrorist watch list. They also propose that police be notified of gun purchases of people who have been investigated for terrorist activity in the past.