NRA blasts Bill Galvano over donation from gun-control group: ‘Our Second Amendment rights were sold’

Everytown for Gun Safety gave the Republican's PAC $200,000.
Published Sept. 17, 2018

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, is getting hit from the right over a donation to his political committee from the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

The pro-gun control organization gave $200,000 to Galvano's Innovate Florida committee, according to state filings dated Sept. 4.

Galvano, a moderate, voted for SB 7026, the 2018 law that raised the minimum age a person is allowed to buy a gun, created a three-day waiting period to buy any firearm, banned bump-stock sales and allowed armed staff in public schools. The "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act" passed the Senate 20-18, and was signed into law after a session derailed by the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland.

The National Rifle Association blasted Galvano on Monday, writing that he "calls himself a Republican."

"B-7026 contained three major gun control provisions and was rammed down the throats of Senate and House Republican legislators," the email from Marion Hammer read. "The report below below adds credence to that rumor. Looks like our Second Amendment Rights were sold for a large contribution from anti-gun former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

Galvano told the Times he stands by the donation.

"I will make no apologies for the responsible steps we took in a bipartisan manner in the wake of the worst school shooting in our state's history," he said through a spokeswoman. "I have made it clear that as Senate president I will continue to advocate for increased safety and security in our schools. I am grateful for the support."

Everytown for Gun Safety is a national nonprofit, founded by Michael Bloomberg, advocating expanded background checks and stronger gun-control laws. The group announced Monday it is spending millions on the 2018 election and endorsed Democratic candidates in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico.

The contribution to Galvano's PAC also drew a question from the League of Women Voters.

"Why is a national gun control organization donating $200,000 to Bill Galvano's PAC when Galvano voted against virtually every gun control bill in the 2018 legislative session?" said Mark Pafford, co-chair of the group's Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's a logical question that needs an answer."

In the days after the shooting, Galvano announced support for raising the minimum age for assault rifle possession, adding three-day waiting periods for assault rifle purchases and tightening background checks. But asked why not ban semi-automatic weapons or guns with high-capacity magazines, he said many people use them for sport.

Galvano voted against early Democrat-pushed amendments to the bill, including efforts to ban assault weapons and prevent programs to put guns in schools, but voted for the final version, which passed 20-18.

Galvano's Innovate Florida committee had about $231,000 in cash on hand as of last Friday, the report shows.

He isn't the only Florida Republican to pull in money from the group. A committee associated with Sen. Anitere Flores received $35,000 from Everytown in two payments in June and August. Flores sided with Democrats on SB 7026 with early amendment votes to eliminate a plan to arm teachers and to ban assault weapons.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.