Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Thursday that in addition to throwing $2 million behind Democratic candidates seeking Florida Cabinet positions, it will be dedicating $1.8 million solely to agriculture commissioner nominee Nikki Fried and attorney general hopeful Sean Shaw.
The organization told the Times/Herald that it supports "gun-sense" candidates like Fried, who called for a full audit of the concealed-weapons permit process, and Shaw, who released an ad detailing his experience standing up to the National Rifle Association and pushing for stronger gun laws.
Fried's call for reform has been a marquee issue on her campaign. Fried, who owns a gun and has a concealed weapons permit, released a video and letter last month distancing herself from the NRA with a clear message: "I won't be beholden to you." The agriculture commissioner's office oversees the concealed-weapons permitting process.
The letter, addressed to NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, responds to a Tampa Bay Times report that revealed emails between Hammer and officials within the agriculture commissioner's office.
Her push for reform of the department comes after a report released earlier this year revealed that for more than a year, the department did not properly review background checks on tens of thousands of applicants for concealed-weapons permits. The lapse in background checks was attributed to an employee who had problems logging into the system.
In the video, Fried points out that her opponent, Fort Myers Rep. Matt Caldwell, is endorsed and given an "A-plus" rating by the NRA. She also references Caldwell's contentious vote against the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.