Former congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabby Giffords is calling out Florida Gov. Rick Scott over his inaction on gun violence and ties to the National Rifle Association a week after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Giffords rolled out an ad campaign against the governor on Tuesday, including what she called a “six-figure ad buy” to air a commercial targeting Scott.
The 30-second ad opens with video from vigils for shooting victims in Florida, naming off “Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, [and] Parkland” in reference to the three mass shootings at Pulse nightclub in June 2016, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January 2017 and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School last week.
The ad, financed by Giffords’ gun control nonprofit, singles out a law Scott championed in 2011 that would prevent doctors from asking patients whether they owned a gun. The law was criticized at the time as posing a safety risk.
“Gov. Rick Scott should realize the risks to public health and safety that he would be sanctioning by giving into the gun lobby’s agenda,” the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said in a joint statement released in June 2011 in conjunction with the Florida chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians.
The ad released Tuesday by Giffords, the name of the nonprofit, seizes on the bill and notes even mental health professionals were not able to ask about gun ownership. The law, however, was struck down six years later.
“Rick Scott made it illegal for a doctor to ask a patient if they own a gun, even a mental health professional,” the Giffords ad says. “This law was so dangerous that a court had to strike it down. Gov. Scott, we need more than your thoughts and prayers. Stop putting the gun lobby ahead of our safety.”
This year is an election year for governor in Florida, but Scott is not eligible to run having already served two consecutive terms. But the governor is reportedly seriously considering a challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, according to Politico.
“We’re educating Florida voters about the governor’s tragic record on gun safety and sending a message to all who seek public office: Enough!” Peter Ambler, executive director for Giffords, said in a statement. “Voters are going to be examining politicians records on gun safety very closely this year, and we’re ready to help them make informed decisions.”
The statement released by Giffords mentions Scott has “complied with the gun lobby’s every wish” and makes reference to a speech he delivered at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum last year.
Giffords suffered life-threatening wounds during an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011 when a man opened fire at an outdoor event held by the Arizona congresswoman. Six people were killed and 19 people were injured in the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords was shot in the head, but made a miraculous recovery. Jared Lee Loughner was arrested at the scene and later pleaded guilty in the shooting. He is serving 140 years in prison.
Giffords later resigned from the House to focus on her recovery in January 2012.