Florida Legislature wilton simpson
Sen. Wilton Simpson, (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla)
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In the upcoming November, 2022 elections, Floridians will be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Florida’s current Republican Senate President, Senator Wilton Simpson has officially entered the race for Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services. In the Sunshine State, that’s the office that runs the state’s concealed weapons permit program.

The seat is currently held by Democrat Nikki Fried, who is no friend of gun rights or law-abiding citizens carrying firearms. See here, here and here for examples.

Why is Simpson’s candidacy a problem? Because Wilton Simpson is also the senator who authored the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026), otherwise known as the Parkland gun control and “red flag” bill.

So Florida is likely to go from someone in the Ag Commissioner spot who’s an avowed opponent of gun rights to one who poses as a friend, but authored the worst gun control legislation to become law in the state in the last decade.

Senator Simpson doesn’t bother to hide the fact that he authored the Parkland gun control bill, either. In fact he proudly displays it on campaign mailers (though he’s very selective about the parts of the bill he talks about).

Simpson’s candidacy surprised no one in the state and he’s the favorite to win the seat. Fried announced that she’s running for governor in 2022, challenging Ron DeSantis. That will leave the Agriculture Commissioner job open.

Simpson got a big boost in his candidacy for the Ag Commisioner job when he secured the endorsement from former President and Florida resident Donald Trump.

“I hope he runs for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022 — he will have my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump wrote. “Wilton has been a great supporter and worked hard to get many good Conservatives elected in Florida.”

Back in 2018, then-President Trump congratulated Florida’s Republicans on their passage of Simpson’s gun control bill.

While Florida’s farmers might benefit with Simpson in the Ag chair instead of Fried, given Simpson’s record, Florida’s gun owners aren’t likely to.

But wait…there’s more.

The gun control-supporting Senator Simpson is now working hard to persuade Pasco County gun owners that he’s really a big gun rights supporter…with the NRA’s help. The East Pasco Friends of the NRA have accepted a $5,000 donation from him for their event tomorrow.

Former NRA president and current Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director Marion Hammer is pitching in, too. In recent a communication under NRA-ILA heading, she called Senator Simpson one of the “true ‘Second Amendment Heroes’ of the 2021 Legislative Session.”

Hammer and the state’s Republicans have celebrated the three gun rights bills they passed (and the anti-gun bills they defeated) in a legislature that is controlled by a GOP supermajority. Nothing passes — or fails to be considered — without their say-so.

Never mind the fact that the NRA is currently suing the State of Florida because of the same bill Senator Simpson so proudly authored. That bill, among other provisions, ended sales of firearms to adults under 21 years of age. That’s the subject of the NRA suit. Why is the NRA suing Florida over a gun control law on one hand while supporting the law’s author with the other?

Money and power.

The current chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Senator Joe Gruters, made clear how all of this works after it was revealed that the Publix Supermarket chain resumed donating to Republicans after they announced that they’d stop donating to all politicians following the Parkland shooting.

Publix’s political contributions had resulted in protests inside some of their stores by anti-gunners looking to capitalize on the mass shooting and shame Publix into pulling its money from pro-gun politicians.

Gratified by the resumption of cash, Gruters declared Publix’s decision to resume the contributions a smart one . . .

“You can’t sit on the sidelines and think you’re going to be able to accomplish your legislative goals at the end of the year.”

Senator Gruters and Rep. Cord Byrd are counted among the “true Second Amendment Heroes” by Hammer and the NRA. Maybe that’s why TTAG contributor and the GOA’s Florida Director Luis Valdes was attacked by those with whom Hammer has influence when Valdes had the temerity to draw attention to what’s been going on in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature with regard to constitutional carry (and Rep. Byrd’s role in bottling it up).

What we have here are avid and skilled practitioners of the world’s second oldest profession — lawmakers using access-based lobbying as a tool to cultivate and control the way gun rights are “managed” in Florida’s GOP supermajority-controlled legislature. The NRA and USF provide cover for anti-gun Republicans who author gun control legislation and go on to kill pro-gun bills such as constitutional carry. In return they get support and donations.

Friends of the NRA events are grassroots campaign funding events. That’s where local level members donate their hard-earned dollars to the NRA on the belief that the money will go to defend and extend their gun rights in the state.

The NRA and these politicians count on the average gun owner thinking that having (R) after their name along with NRA backing automatically means the legislator or candidate supports gun rights. That clearly isn’t always the case.

The end result is a shady relationship whereby each side benefits financially through donations to one another and in the end, little or nothing happens in the legislature to further the cause of Second Amendment freedom (think open carry and constitutional carry). And sometimes, those freedoms are even rolled back, as they were to resounding applause in 2018.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. Given all the adverse publicity FLGOP has seen over the past week, does anybody else think that Lee and Marion triggered the Streisand Effect last week when they called out Luis Valdes for quietly taking Cord Boyd to task?

    • “(Nikki) Fried announced that she’s running for governor..”

      Completely botch your job? Seek a huge promotion!

      Oh that arrogance is strong in that crazy Karen.

      Fried will be Fry’ed.

        • It’s the way of the Leftist..

          FIFY

          A Liberal, believes in Individual Rights. Leftist believes in collective rights and government.

          A Liberal believes in Liberty aka Freedom, and the Bill Of Rights, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Leftist believe in forced vacations, and a police state that targets and imprisons its opposition.

          Don’t let them define the terms, or choose the battlefield, they will take the high ground and you will be fighting uphill.

        • A Liberal believes in Liberty aka Freedom,

          THOSE “Liberals” don’t exist anymore, they are called RINOs now as alleged Republicans that live Left of Center… The proof is in the voting any “Liberal” as you describe them would vote against the Braindead, Pelosi. Schumer agenda… Come to think of it Sinema and Mancin did just that… OKAY, I’ll give you two true Liberals…
          you will be fighting uphill.
          Been there done that, got it done….

        • The left has so corrupted the the word Liberal, that you are arguing that it still somehow, describes someone, in their party.

          The word Liberal comes from the word Liberty. They are the same word. And the Liberal Party is therefore the Freedom Party.

          The leftist usurping the word liberal is no different than when they say they are caring, or tolerant. It is the exact opposite of the truth. It is their propaganda.

          They need to be correctly labeled what they truly are; Socialist, Communist, Statist, Marxist and Fascist.

        • ‘The left has so corrupted the the word Liberal, that you are arguing that it still somehow, describes someone, in their party.

          The word Liberal comes from the word Liberty. They are the same word. And the Liberal Party is therefore the Freedom Party.

          The leftist usurping the word liberal is no different than when they say they are caring, or tolerant. It is the exact opposite of the truth. It is their propaganda.

          They need to be correctly labeled what they truly are; Socialist, Communist, Statist, Marxist and Fascist.’

          Total clarity right there

  2. ended sales of firearms to adults under 21 years of age.

    Actually the law permits sales of rifles and shotguns to anyone 18 or over who is a cop, corrections officer or in the military… Federal law prohibits the sale of a handgun to any one under the age of 21 by an FFL, but does permit private transfers to persons 18 and over…

    • Is everyone a “cop, corrections officer or in the military”? No…. so hundreds of thousands to a few millions Floridians under the age of 21 are stripped of outright purchasing a firearm because of Wilton Simpson and Marion Hammer’s coddling of him.

      Florida has less than 50,000 cops statewide but it has a population of 22 million people. Just through simple numbers alone, the vast majority of those between 18-21 are not LEOs or in the Military.

      • 546,000 18/19 year olds (5400 of which are active duty) are affected by the rule which prohibits the PURCHASE of a gun… It is not unlawful to possess a firearm at 18 (you can possess a gun without purchasing one).. Under both federal and state law, anyone 18 years or older may possess a long gun or a handgun. In fact, A minor UNDER 18 years of age may not possess a firearm, other than an unloaded firearm at his or her home, UNLESS:
        (a) The minor is engaged in a lawful hunting activity and is:
        1. At least 16 years of age; or
        2. Under 16 years of age and supervised by an adult.
        (b) The minor is engaged in a lawful marksmanship competition or practice or other lawful recreational shooting activity and is:
        1. At least 16 years of age; or
        2. Under 16 years of age and supervised by an adult who is acting with the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.
        (c) The firearm is unloaded and is being transported by the minor directly to or from an event authorized in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b).

  3. This is what happens when you capitulate to partisanship over principle. And the result is always the same- you get what you deserve.

    Be smarter.

  4. Yesterday, I took the time to contact ALL of my Florida senators and representatives and let them know I expect positive action on 2A rights and an end to their support for “gun-control” policies that are pretty much disregarded by criminals. Let them know you vote and you will make you vote count. I told them they need to earn my vote, my wife’s and our endorsement of them to friends and family – otherwise I will vote for another candidate that will.

    Please, please Floridians! Take a few minutes to do this. Our activism makes a difference!

      • Hmmmm. Just like we “wasted” all that time writing to them about Chipman and writing our comments to the Justice Dept on the ATF braces proposal?

        • ^^^^^^^^^^ This times 1 Million.

          Sit back and be cynical all you want, that’ll REALLY show ’em. Better yet, don’t even bother to vote, or go to one of your rep’s town halls. Sit around with you pals, swig another beer, and bitch.

          As an Iowa resident, I can’t speak for those receiving “NRA support” in Florida, but in IA (and I bet FL, too), the endorsements and A+ – F ratings are made by Iowa NRA members, not someone in Fairfax, and in Iowa, it is taken very seriously and always has been. If you are a FL resident (or any other state for that matter), find out how these are determined and, better yet, try to get yourself on the committee that vets the sitting legislators; state and federal. (Of course, if you’re concerned about NRA endorsements, you’re going to have to be an NRA member…)

          Anyone can complain but if you want to play in the actual game, you must be a member of the team.

          It’s exactly the same with whining about the Republicans (or democrats), but never actually joining, or being even slightly active in the party, which is the only way to be involved in the selection of candidates that EVERYONE will vote for on the ballot. The parties themselves put forth the slate of candidates, not some government agency. If you think you have a better list, or even a single candidate, get involved with the party and start trying to convince others BEFORE the ballot is chosen.

  5. Simpson as Ag Commissioner would accomplish two things, Fried would go back to the farm (no way in hell she unseats DeSantis) AND Wilton is out of the Senate where laws are actually made… As Ag Commissioner he would be bound to the “Shall Issue” mandate for any applicant that is not a convicted felon… Frieds’ stunt of suspending those “accused” in the Jan 6 demonstration was in violation of FL law since none of the persons in question were charged with a felony…

    • State law is that anyone ACCUSED of a felony gets their CCW suspended. If they’re convicted, it is revoked.

      Simpson running Ag would be horrible. Fried is already stalling every application she can due to the way the clock starts and stops during the background process.

      Simpson would be worse than her.

      THIS IS WHY FLORIDA NEEDS CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY.

      Also, screw Marion Hammer. This clearly shows why she attacked GOA and why Lee Williams joined in on it. GOA is showing what’s happening in FL all while NRA with the help of FL Carry is covering it up!

  6. “Back in 2018, then-President Trump congratulated Florida’s Republicans on their passage of Simpson’s gun control bill.“

    Trump and the Republicans show their true colors regarding actual gun control legislation being passed and signed into law.

    ‘Gun control by Republicans’, it’s not just a campaign slogan.

  7. Dear Florida RINO,

    With all due respect bozo…Gun Control in Any shape, matter or form is rooted in racism and genocide. Forget the foot tapping gun control busy moms who stoop to use little kids to get what they want and reside in your pathetic pantie waist head. Your choice is between, A) The history confirmed agenda of racists and nazis. B) The Constitution of The United States.

    BTW…Should busy body moms have any complaints forward the 2 Choices to them and ask them which one would they have selected?

    Kindest regards,
    DW

  8. Well, this shows how dirty Marion Hammer and Lee Williams are. I can’t believe I’m a member of the National Rifle Association and Florida Carry. How much is it to join Gun Owners of America? Do they have a life membership? I moved from Paterson, New Jersey seven years ago and I joined both those organizations because in New Jersey the gun laws were horrible. My husband and I couldn’t get a carry permit. But when we moved to Florida, our neighbor told us about how great it is here, how the Republicans are awesome and pro gun. They even told us to join the National Rifle Association and Florida Carry. But after seeing this dirty stuff between Marion Hammer and Wilton Simpson. It is just like New Jersey but worse!

  9. So, in reality we Florida gun owners have to choose which of the best of the available whores we choose to “sleep with” knowing all along what it means to get “f#cked”!!

    • That’s an insult to Whores. They’re honest and tell you up front how much it costs to get f#cked. Lawmakers like Simpson and Scammers like the NRA lie to you. They steal your money and then don’t even have the common courtesy for a reach around.

  10. Simpson’s PAC, Jobs For Florida also accepted 100s of thousands of dollars from anti gun billionaire Miami Mike Fernandez. Fernandez vowed publicly he would never give one penny to politicians who do not support an “assault weapons” ban.

  11. Florida’s problem with Republicans and gun control have already been clearly illustrated.

    https://www.wlrn.org/show/the-sunshine-economy/2018-02-25/south-fla-billionaire-mike-fernandez-not-one-cent-to-politicians-who-dont-support-gun-control

    That’s it. No more need for multi-thousand-word articles that amount to nothing more than mental masturbation. Gun control = money from Mike; no gun control = no money from Mike. So Florida republicans vote for gun control. Period.

  12. Politicans lie to get a job, if we the people lied like that on a job application we’d be fired the 3rd day.
    I can do this, I can to do that. But I cant do the job you hired me for, I know I said I could. But I lied and you cant fire me.

  13. Floridians have my sympathy. No matter which candidate wins, the people will lose. For different, and even opposing reasons, both sides are stupid beyond words.

    • No matter which candidate wins,

      Fried can’t run for Ag commissioner AND Gov… So she will not be a problem any more no matter what…

  14. Yet they passed gun control so quickly in 2018 but can’t roll it back? Typical Republicans talk a good game but when it actually comes to freedom they are just as bad as the Democrats. Like when Abbot got caught arresting people for the Covid “restrictions” the only reason he changed them is because he got caught.

  15. Simpson: A politician with double standards? The hell you say!
    Truth is Floridians depend on tourists. When ma & pa & the kids come down from Philadelphia and are in their favorite fresh caught seafood Florida restaurant munchin’ on fish and chips made from catfish farm raised in Vietnam and a pos pick up truck pulls in with FloBorn decal on the back window and Zeke and his pal hop out each wearing double Miami Vice holsters over their wife beaters…well…it can leave an impression that makes el touristos want to head for the hills…the California hills.
    So RINO’s get elected. Florida ain’t Wyoming.

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