Rick Scott says he doesn't want to ban certain types of guns. He wants to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
In an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace Sunday, Florida's governor made a methodical case for his school safety proposal while largely sidestepping questions about the dangers of assault weapons.
"I'm not into banning specific weapons," Scott said. "I think what you need to do is ban specific people from having weapons. Focus on the problem." We've got to focus on solutions that work."
Wallace pressed Scott about the risks associated with certain firearms, noting that all of the major mass shootings from the past few years have been carried out by gunmen armed with assault weapons.
"Don't these assault weapons allow an evil person to kill more people more quickly?" Wallace asked.
Scott responded by saying that a governor has to walk a fine line in protecting individual rights and the public at large.
"When you're thinking about any of these things, I went through Pulse. We had the airport shooting a little over a year ago. And now we have this. Your heart goes out to everybody that's been impacted. So you've got to weigh," Scott said. "You've got to weigh our constitutional rights, which I believe in, against public safety. So that's what I'm trying to do with this. And that's why it's not just one thing. It's everything."
The federal government banned the "manufacture, transfer, and possession" of "certain semiautomatic assault weapons" in a law that was on the books from 1994 to 2004. But that ban was fairly easy for gun sophisticates to get around. Many conservative lawmakers have said in the wake of the Parkland shooting that such a ban would do little to stop another mass shooting.
Still, Gov. Scott proposed minor gun restrictions this week in a break with the National Rifle Association. For example, Scott wants to raise the firearm purchasing age from 18 to 21. Wallace asked the governor why he's proposing measures that don't have the backing of the NRA — which previously gave Scott an A+ rating.
"I'm an NRA member. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in the First Amendment — all the amendments. I think most members of the NRA agree with me that this is logical," Scott answered. "I'm sure there's going to be some that disagree. But I'm a dad. I'm a granddad and I'm a governor. I want my state to be safe."
Wallace also pressed Scott on an issue that has him at odds with President Trump: training and arming teachers.
Scott said that although he plans to "harden" schools by increasing law enforcement presence at them, he simply wants "teachers to teach."
Toward the end of the ten-minute exchange, Scott reiterated his longstanding criticism of the FBI, saying the bureau should have relayed to other law enforcement agencies the troubling information they'd received about the Parkland shooter in the months leading up to the shooting.
The governor said he plans to focus all of his energy during the remaining two weeks of the Florida legislative session on making sure schools are safe.
"I want to do everything I can in my job right now to make sure this doesn't happen again," Scott said.
Watch an excerpt from the interview by clicking the link below.