Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Ruth: Adam Putnam sells out to the NRA

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the leading Republican candidate for governor.
Published Jul. 27, 2017

This didn't take long, did it?

If you want to get elected to office in Florida, a politician is obligated to grovel before the great and powerful National Rifle Association, which views Tallahassee as a wholly owned subsidiary of its interests.

So Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, went on an NRA boot-licking tour a few days ago. He noted what a swell idea it is to permit gun owners to carry their little friends on college campuses, as well as endorsing proposals to allow the open carry of weapons in public places.

Yep, this chap is really running for governor. It is entirely possible by the time the 2018 campaign gets into full swing, the Opie of open carry will be suggesting that any newborn infant in the state should be given a Glock in the maternity ward.

It should hardly come as much of a surprise that Putnam would be hitting the campaign trail as a NRA marionette. Think of the agriculture commissioner as the Howdy Doody of Smith & Wesson.

You would think the Department of Agriculture's home web page would have information about the scourge of citrus greening, or perhaps tips on how to plant a begonia. Instead, there is advice on how to obtain a concealed carry weapons permit in Florida, which Putnam has been gleefully handing out like campaign brochures, which in a way they are.

Putnam made his remarks about his belief that guns should be more ubiquitous in Florida than sand while standing before a group of National Guard members. He argued that because of their firearms training they are uniquely qualified to be allowed to carry weapons on university campuses.

Putnam has so wrapped himself around the Second Amendment it is probably only a matter of time before he shows up at campaign events decked out as Patrick Henry.

While the candidate was exploiting the National Guard members as political props, he conveniently overlooked that the campus carry/open carry issue has been opposed by a majority of Florida law enforcement officials, as well as university presidents, administrators and faculty, who argue the measures will put the public as greater risk and make their jobs more difficult and dangerous.

But Putnam, much like the NRA-fawning Florida Legislature, doesn't care when there are votes to be mined among the bad-guy-behind-every-shrubbery crowd and NRA campaign contributions to be vacuumed up.

Putnam also took time during his "a gun in every pot" effort to decry a recent protest against the NRA, sneering that the demonstrations were merely "a classic progressive move. Desperate attempt to limit our Second Amendment rights." Uh, commissioner? Perhaps you might want to take a refresher course to remind yourself that while the Second Amendment may well send a tingle down your leg, we also have a First Amendment right to free expression.

At the center of the protests was a pro-NRA advertisement suggesting (with zero evidence) that more citizens need to be locked and loaded because the nation is on the cusp of a violent revolution that it hinted former President Barack Obama is leading, when he isn't otherwise engaged in windsurfing in the Bahamas or sipping mimosas in Bali.

Fear-mongering always has been a useful tool to help advance political ambition. On that score, Putnam is well on his way to making President Donald Trump look like the Dalai Lama. He was more than eager to drag out that old canard about how "law-abiding citizens" should have every right to be armed to the teeth in Florida. He neglected to mention since the state's incredibly stupid "stand your ground'' law went into effect more than 10 years ago, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Florida has seen an increase in firearm deaths.

Let us also not forget a Tampa Bay Times investigation that revealed a child in Florida is shot every 17 hours.

And that is the lesson lost on the faux Dirty Harry of Tallahassee. Everybody is a "law-abiding citizen" — until they pull the trigger.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A business man and woman holding a sign depicting their political party preference. SHARON DOMINICK  |  iStockphoto.com
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  2. Leonard Pitts undefined
    Don’t wall ourselves off from contradictory opinions, writes Leonard Pitts.
  3. President Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Nov. 2016 in Bedminster, N.J.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  4. (left to right) Nupar Godbole, medical student at USF, and Tiffany Damm, medical student at UCF, take part in a papaya workshop at the University of South Florida Medical Students for Choice Second Annual Florida Regional Conference held in the Morsani College of Medicine on February 24, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. Some of the instruments used in abortions, like the manual vacuum aspirator, are used in an exercise with a papaya, to simulate an abortion. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  5.  LISA BENSON  |  Lisa Benson -- Washington Post Writers Group
  6. Exhaust rises from smokestacks in front of piles of coal in Thompsons, Texas. [Associated Press]
    A proposed rule masquerades as transparency when it actually is a favor to polluters.
  7. Using a tool provided by NOAA, this map shows what parts of the Tampa Bay region would be underwater if sea levels rose 8 feet, which could happen by 2100. NOAA
    The real-world impacts of climate change are accelerating for us in Tampa Bay.
  8. An architect's rendering of a foster care village proposed for Lake Magdalene. Ross Chapin Architects
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  9. Campbell Park Elementary School is one of the seven schools included in St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell's plan to help homeless students in the school system. SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The City Council appears poised to help homeless families find places to live more quickly.
  10. Kimberly Clemons, 41, a resident of the Kenwood Inn, St. Petersburg receives a free Hepatitis A vaccination from Fannie Vaughn, a nurse with the Florida Department of Health Pinellas County, Tuesday, October 22, 2019. The health department has issued a state of emergency over the hepatitis A outbreak in Florida.  SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The strategy regarding vaccinations is working and benefits all residents.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement