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The Great Red State vs. Blue State debate between California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis included a short back-and-forth on rising criminal violence. That, of course, gave the California gun control chief cheerleader the opening he needed to make cheap political attacks and continue to push for more restrictive firearm laws even though his state already has nearly every gun control law on the books.

It was a glaring, but unsurprising, reminder that Gov. Newsom isn’t interested in reducing criminal gun misuse or crimes. He’s all about appeasing gun control activists and the donor class that will help propel him to a presidential run of his own someday, and maybe as soon as next year.

Crime-Driven Exodus

The launching point for Gov. Newsom’s tirade on gun control was his attempts at attacking Gov. DeSantis over rising crime – unironically the main driver for why more law-abiding Californians have been purchasing firearms over the past few years.

Showing a graphic containing FBI data on violent crime rates in California, Florida and the national average, debate moderator Sean Hannity pressed Gov. Newsom about his state’s high numbers.

“Governor Newsom, your numbers are way higher than the national average. How do you explain that when safety and security, I would argue, is a prerequisite for the pursuit of happiness?” asked Hannity.

The governor tried to mark “progress” by bringing up the 1990s. “We’re near 50-year lows, down 55 percent violent crimes in the state of California from the 1990s,” Gov. Newsom responded. “And I want to compare and contrast that with the issue in Florida that you didn’t mention, and that’s the murder rate. Let’s broaden that more broadly —”

Hannity interjected to remind everyone the FBI data included the murder rates. Gov. DeSantis jumped in with his own response.

“So this is the slick politician — you put up the rates. He has 500 per 100,000. Florida is 250. So that’s almost twice as much, and he’s trying to spin that to say California’s doing good? People are leaving California in droves, largely because public safety has collapsed,” said Gov. DeSantis.

Gov. Newsom could not offer any good reason why 750,000 people have left his state in the past two years, while over the same stretch, more than 454,000 people have moved into Florida.

More Gun Control

Always ready to chest-thump over his state’s extreme gun control laws as a national framework for success, Gov. Newsom attacked Gov. DeSantis for not enacting unconstitutional gun control measures and was sloppy with the facts in doing so.

“You had one of the worst mass shootings in American history, Parkland… You had a young girl, Jaime Guttenberg, whose father pleaded with you to do something… You know what you did, you did the opposite – you made it easier for felons to get guns,” Gov. Newsom proclaimed.

The Parkland murders were in fact committed by a deranged criminal in 2017. The governor was at that time a Member of Congress, years before he was elected governor. The Constitutional Carry bill he did sign into law earlier this year did not make it “easier for felons to get guns,” as the California governor falsely asserted. As Gov. DeSantis pointed out, it is illegal for anyone convicted of a felony to purchase or possess a firearm and that remains so in Florida today.

Instead of passing even more gun control laws that criminals will continue ignoring and that only penalize law-abiding citizens, Gov. Newsom should spend more time and effort getting tough on the criminals that do break the law. As he has failed to take any meaningful action to ensure his cities are safer, voters have been left to take action into their own hands. They did so in San Francisco after giving Geroge Soros-funded District Attorney Chesa Boudin the boot.

In contrast, Gov. DeSantis has a record of taking action against such soft-on-crime prosecutors that leave communities in danger. During the first Republican primary presidential debate this year, he reminded voters of his actions.

“These hollowed-out cities, this is a symptom of America’s decline. And one of the biggest reasons is because you have George Soros funding these radical Left-wing district attorneys that get into office and they say they’re not going to prosecute crimes they disagree with,” he said. “When we had two of these district attorneys in Florida, elected with Soros funding who said they wouldn’t do their job, I removed them from their post. They are gone.”

Support From Florida

When the California governor brought up Fred Guttenberg for his gun control advocacy, it was a political decision by Gov. Newsom to ignore any other relevant voices from that tragedy. That didn’t stop Ryan Petty and Andrew Pollack from giving the governor a piece of their mind.

Ryan Petty’s daughter Alaina was also murdered in the Parkland tragedy. As was Andrew Pollack’s daughter, Meadow.

In response to the false accusations Gov. Newsom lobbed at Gov. DeSantis, Petty posted on social media in real-time. “This is a lie.  Gavin knew it was a lie when he said it @RonDeSantis had worked closely with Parkland families to make Florida schools safer,” Petty posted. “How dare you use the Parkland tragedy to further your political agenda. You are a political pariah. The shame is yours @GavinNewsom.”

Pollack did not hold back, either. “My daughter died in the Parkland mass shooting. Ron DeSantis was not even Governor when it happened, but I’m sure as hell glad he became Governor shortly after,” he said. “Governor DeSantis fired the incompetent people responsible, he didn’t demonize lawful gun owners. Newsom is trash!”

Gov. DeSantis won reelection in 2022 in a landslide, five years after the Parkland tragedy and proclaiming that passing Constitutional Carry was a priority for his second term. Florida voters overwhelmingly made their preferred choice.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. A caller got onto Hannity about saying newsom loves his country during the debate That maybe so if the country is N. Korea. I do not care if Hannity thinks newsom off stage is a nice guy, etc. I expect Hannity not to ever speak for what is a self serving democRat and let the Gun Control Rat speak for himself. And if not, hand the mic over to someone who can.

    • Thanks to your efforts every gun and every round is sold before it is made. America is awash with guns thanks to you.

      And you are to phucking stupid to see it. Is it any wonder your father disowned you, jerry?

    • Economics 101 – “Whatever the market will bear.” When people stop buying the prices will drop but as long as people continue to buy corporations can and should make as much profit as possible for their investors. It’s called good business practices.

      • It was reported today that California has a $68,000,000,000 budget deficit. Due to the Liberal/Progressive policies of the Democrats in control of the state. Which will require being paid off by not only California citizens, but citizens of the entire nation. How much can your ‘Market’ bear.

        • His understanding of economics comes from one of his holy books Das Kapital.

          Marx was a political theorist and definitely not an economist.

        • Thats because his mommy has supplied everything in his life. He’s never had to fend for himself. Outside of the fantasy world in her basement.

    • Nope, not greed mongers. Capitalist business. Demand is up, supply cannot keep pace and thus the price goes up. Thanks to people like you, guns have been selling so fast that the ammo production facilities have a hard time keeping up. That and Biden tries to buy all the rifle ammo for the military and cause disruption to civilian supply, a la the Lake City Plant. This was downplayed and called fake in the past, but now Lake City is moving to cancal all commercial (read Civilillian) contracts. They claim it is because the military’s demand for rounds will increase with Israel and Ukraine. That takes an already stressed ammo market and removed 30% of the 5.56/.223 ammo out of the supply chain. With those rounds already up nearly 100% in price in the last two years, losing Lake City’s supply would be disastrous.

    • Here are some concepts for you to study. Supply, demand, equilibrium, and what non-price factors can alter the equilibrium. Basic micro-economics.

      Something you l3ftists don’t understand as it is not covered in your holy books (Das Kapital, Mein Kampf, and The Turner Diaries).

      Your road to utopia will be paved with the bones of your victims.

    • “Due to world events our suppliers have notified us of unprecedented demand for and an anticipated global shortage of gunpowder, and thus has increased our prices substantially,” Vice President of Sales, Sporting Products Brett Nelson said in the letter. “We must therefore raise our pricing to help offset those increases.”

      You don’t say?

  2. Well . . . I see that the GUN industry is doing very WELL under Newsome – because of LAWLESSNESS in California, new records for gun purchases were SET there. I GUESS “governor” (?!?) Newsome must be proud. And this is a STATE where there are MORE stricter GUN laws than just about anywhere ELSE. How is THAT working out?!?


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